Speaking to reporters yesterday ahead of the game with Manchester City, Martin O'Neill also provided some positive injury news on three key defenders who are all looking to step up their returns over the course of the next few weeks.
First of all O'Neill spoke about Carlos Cuellar. The Spaniard has been missing for a few weeks since picking up a knock against Liverpool where he was replaced by a surprisingly solid looking Titus Bramble - which has remained the case ever since. O'Neill told the club's official site;
Carlos trained this morning and is certainly looking better than he did last week.
It's too early to say as to whether or not Cuellar will be in contention for tomorrow's trip to Manchester City, with the Wear-Tyne derby a few weeks after looking a much more likely returning date for the summer signing.
O'Neill also spoke about Wes Brown - who seems to be becoming something of a forgotten man on Wearside at the moment. Brown has sat out all summer since injuring himself in the Peace Cup in Korea. O'Neill admitted things have been a struggle for the former Manchester United man, who needs to build up his confidence in playing football again;
Wes has done as much rehab as he possibly can and now it's about getting out there and getting some confidence from playing.
He hasn't done that much and I would say that this fortnight around this international break will bring him on immensely.
If he, like a number of other players, could have an injury-free run over the next couple of months, that would be terrific.
It would be silly to put any potential return date on Brown, and we seem to be coping not too shabbily without him, but it nevertheless it would undoubtedly be a boon to have him back in the squad.
Meanwhile another of the long-term injury victims, Phil Bardsley, has made significant strides in his comeback from injury which has seen him miss the entire summer, as he played 45-minutes of a Development Side friendly against Middlesbrough.
Bardsley could be the most likely candidate for a comeback, despite only playing 45-minutes. In an odd parallel, David Vaughan also played 45-minutes in a reserve team game before an international break and was straight back into contention for the first team following that.
If this works out the same as Bardsley with an international break next weekend, he could be making a strong case for inclusion against the Mags the following weekend.