Sunderland boss Lee Johnson could have striker Jordan Jones back at his disposal for Friday’s League One clash with Oxford.
The Rangers loanee has missed the last four games with a muscle problem, but is back in training to provide Johnson with another attacking option after Aiden O’Brien marked his return from injury with the only goal at Bristol Rovers last weekend.
Defender Conor McLaughlin will be assessed once he is back from international duty with Northern Ireland, while full-back Denver Hume got 75 minutes under his belt for the under-23s this week as he stepped up his comeback from a hamstring lay-off.
Bailey Wright (calf) and Tom Flanagan (hamstring) are also closing on on returns, while Jordan Willis continues his recovery from a ruptured patellar tendon.
Oxford head coach Karl Robinson is hoping for a double fitness boost ahead of the trip to the Stadium of Light.
Robinson could have full-back Sam Long (hamstring) and on-loan Luton striker Elliot Lee (knee) back among the fold having missed seven and three games respectively.
Defender Josh Ruffels’ knee injury will be assessed after he limped out of last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Lincoln with just 27 minutes played, and striker Rob Hall is in a similar position with an ankle problem.
Midfielder Alex Gorrin missed the Lincoln game through a combination of groin strain and an undisclosed medical condition, while John Mousinho and Marcus McGuane will not play again this season.
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