David Prutton is nearing a first-team return ahead of the gruelling Christmas schedule.
The Sheffield Wednesday midfielder has missed their last 11 Championship fixtures due to an ankle injury suffered in training.
But The Star understands Prutton has begun running again as he continues to build up his match fitness. The 32-year-old has not featured since Wednesday’s 4-1 thumping at Birmingham City on September 21. Former Owls boss Dave Jones initially said Prutton would ruled out of action for “four to six” weeks.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, meanwhile, is in no rush to make a decision over Connor Wickham’s long-term future at the Stadium of Light. The England Under-21 international has claimed four goals in six appearances since rejoining the Owls on loan last month. Wickham’s deal is set to run out on New Year’s Day.
“Connor needs to play and, after he gets back from the loan, we will talk with him,” said Poyet.
Wednesday are through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup after beating Crystal Palace 4-2 on penalties last night. It ended 4-4 after extra time.