Steven Fletcher is on course to feature in the Capital One Cup final following good progress on his lingering Achilles injury.
The striker hasn't played since the 1-0 win over Stoke two weeks ago and, though his return isn't imminent, there is a chance he could be involved when Sunderland travel to face Arsenal eight days before their Wembley date with Manchester City.
Gus Poyet told The Journal:
He's [Fletcher] getting better. I'm looking forward to seeing him. He will start moving outside next week. He's got a little chance against Arsenal, a bigger chance for the final.
I want him back as soon as possible not only because we need him but because of the games we've got to play before the final as well. I don't want him to just go into the last days (of rehab) just to be in the final.
It would be nice to get Fletcher back - the real Fletcher, that is, not the barely fit poor imitation we've seen this season. I dismiss entirely ideas that he isn't trying or anything like that, but I think it's obvious that physically he has never looked right since returning back in October.
The 'tricky' nature of Fletcher's injury that makes it difficult for a player to really trust his own body was also something that Poyet was keen to stress:
I don’t know about Achilles – if you want to talk about knees, I’m an expert. Achilles? No.
People who have had Achilles tendon have told me they’re quite tricky. When you think you’re right and it’s OK, it comes back so we will manage it properly.
The whole thing seems like a difficult one to judge really. I think even the club are almost in a holding pattern over it and waiting for developments, like an airliner circling and airport waiting for difficult landing conditions to lift.
Probably best to just adopt an open-minded attitude in general regarding Steven Fletcher right now.