Sunderland receive double defensive boost ahead of crunch Portsmouth clash
Sunderland are hopeful that defensive-duo Jordan Willis and Dion Sanderson will both be fit for their crunch clash with Pompey on Saturday.
The League One heavyweights prepare to renew their rivalry for a third successive season at the Stadium of Light.
It’ll be the eighth meeting between the two sides in the third tier as both remain desperate to return to the Championship.
Sunderland head into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over Crewe on Tuesday night,
The Black Cats were without centre-back Willis, however, after he picked up a foot injury last weekend at Swindon.
Sanderson arrived on loan from Wolves on deadline day, but sat out the victory against Alexandra.
As a result, utility-man Luke O’Nien had to fill in as a makeshift central defender.
But both Willis and Sanderson could be available Kenny Jackett’s men, while Northern Ireland international Tom Flanagan was fit enough to be on the bench against Crewe.
Assistant-manager Steve Parkin told the Sunderland Echo: ‘We just felt that with Dion, he's only just arrived at the club and so we felt he just needs a bit more training time.
‘Jordan had that kick on the foot at Swindon but thankfully it's settled right down and he should play some part in training on Wednesday, which is great news for us.
‘Tom Flanagan's had a scan on his ankle and it was obviously better than we'd expected.’
As things stand, Ellis Harrison is Pompey’s only injury concern heading to Wearside.
The striker suffered a hamstring injury against Doncaster last Saturday and was ruled out of action for up to three weeks.
John Marquis led the line and opened the scoring in the Blues’ 2-0 defeat of Gillingham on Tuesday.