Sunderland boss Jack Ross has revealed that summer signings Charlie Wyke and Tom Flanagan could both be involved against Oxford.
The pair have missed the Black Cats' opening League One fixtures having picked up injuries during pre-season.
But having returned to pitch-based training earlier this week, Wyke and Flanagan could be in line for a return to the Sunderland squad when Oxford United visit the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).
And manager Jack Ross has confirmed his intentions for the pair - revealing that should they come through training unscathed then they will likely be involved in his squad.
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However, he made no guarantees that they would be handed a place on the bench after a strong start to the season which has seen many others shine in their absence.
“If they don’t have a reaction from Thursday’s session and Friday then we’ll look include them in the squad,” he said.
“Whether that’s in the 18 or just around it we’ll see. They’ve done a lot of conditioning work it is just building up the football side.”
The return of the injured duo could pose a selection headache for Ross - as too will the return of Dylan McGeouch, who was one of Sunderland's more impressive performers during pre-season.
McGeouch, a full Scottish international, featured off the bench during the victories over Wimbledon and Gillingham as Ross looked to ease the midfielder back into competitive action.
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But having been encouraged by his cameo appearances, Ross admitted that he will be in contention for the visit of the U's - in what he feels will be a positive for Sunderland.
“Dylan being back available has been a boost for us," he admitted.
“I think the length of time he was out, it has helped to be able to drip feed him back into the side.
“From his history in his career, sometimes he’s been thrown back in quickly and it’s been problematic for him.
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“I still think he’s getting back to full fitness because he had a period out and also, he had missed a bit of pre-season by the time he came and joined with us.
“It’s been a little bit fragmented but he’s trained well again this week and he’s certainly in contention for Saturday because of the contribution he’s made off the bench.
“But a bit like Charlie’s situation, it’s fantastic to have players of that quality now back in and around the squad.”