Manchester United and Belgium midfielder hands injury-hit Sunderland timely fitness boost

Adnan Januzaj

Adnan Januzaj

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Injury-hit Sunderland have been handed a much-needed boost with Adnan Januzaj set to return to action sooner than anticipated.

Sunderland are currently without NINE first team players as they battle to turn around another dismal start to a Premier League campaign.

But David Moyes says the news is brighter on at least one of the names on his lengthy casualty list.

The on-loan ManUnited winger was originally ruled out for six weeks until mid-November with an ankle injury but Moyes has revealed he is making good progress.

No timescale has been put on his exact return but Moyes hopes to be able to call upon the 21-year-old sooner rather than later.

Januzaj, who was injured at the end of September in the 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace, underwent a scan which confirmed he had suffered ankle ligament damage.

The winger has been working hard in the gym in a bid to get back playing quickly. “Adnan is feeling much better and he doesn’t think he will be out as long as we initially thought,” said Moyes.

“Hopefully, we can get him back sooner.

“We played QPR the other week in the EFL Cup and we had everybody fit, aside from Seb Larsson and Vito Mannone.

“The other players were OK then but suddenly we are into the last couple of games and lost four or five players.

“We will get the injured players back, though.”

Moyes’ Sunderland squad has been rocked by injury this season with almost an entire team currently out injured.

And Belgium international Januzaj, on a season-long loan from Manchester United, has so far missed the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion and the 2-0 defeat to Stoke City.

Januzaj – who watched the Stoke defeat from the stands – has had a mixed start to his Sunderland career, with some exciting glimpses punctuated by a red card against Tottenham Hotspur.

Moyes’ midfield options have been decimated in recent weeks with injuries to Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring) and Lee Cattermole (back) on top of longer-term casualties Larsson (knee) and Fabio Borini (thigh).

Januzaj’s early return would be a welcome boost.

Vito Mannone (elbow), Lamine Kone (hamstring), Patrick van Aanholt (adductor) and Jason Denayer (adductor) are the other injured players.

The Black Cats are without a win eight games into the Premier League season ahead of the trip to West Ham United on Saturday, the club’s first visit to the London Stadium.