Sunderland manager Jack Ross has revealed that Duncan Watmore’s season might not be over just yet.
The winger, who suffered ankle ligament damage in Sunderland’s draw at Wycombe Wanderers in March, is back in training and working towards playing some part in the Lads' playoff campaign.
While it was first thought Watmore would miss the remainder of the season, with the Black Cats missing out on automatic promotion it has meant their season has now been extended by at least a fortnight.
With a two-legged English Football League (EFL) League One semi-final against Portsmouth this Saturday and then next Thursday before a potential Wembley final, that’s opened the door for Watmore to potentially return.
"Duncan returned to training with the whole group today, although it is too early for him to be involved on Saturday. He could possibly come into contention next week depending on how we need to approach the game, what we might need from the game, and how he is feeling," Ross said.
"We will balance that up. He was determined to get back out in full training today - he could have maybe left it a little bit longer - and he looked as though he came through the session fine, so we will now see how he reacts overnight.
"He'll train again tomorrow, and we'll make a decision from there. He's a different type of player for us. He has the ability to stretch a game for us in a way that no-one else we have got can - we saw that in some of his appearances before his ankle injury," he added.
"We don't really have a like-for-like player to replace him. It's an unexpected boost to have him returning to fitness because we did think we would be without him for the rest of the season."