ADAM Johnson is set to hand Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat another boost by returning to training next week.
The 28-year-old winger suffered a shoulder injury in training after playing in just the opening game of the season - the 4-2 loss at Leicester.
He is running, maybe he can start training next weekDick Advocaat
But the former England man is set to return to the training pitch next week as Advocaat looks to organise his new-look squad into a winning team.
The summer transfer window brought eight signings to the Stadium of Light – Jeremain Lens, Yann M’Vila, Ola Toivonen, Younes Kaboul, Adam Matthews, DeAndre Yedlin, Sebastian Coates and Fabio Borini – but Advocaat will also be glad to have the quality of Johnson at his disposal.
“This week Adam had to go to the doctor for the final time – but everything is OK with his legs,” said Advocaat.
“So he’s started running and then maybe he can start training next week.”
An added boost is that midfielder Jordi Gomez is getting back to full fitness after recovering from knee surgery in the Spring.
“Jordi is getting better and better,” said Advocaat. “He is improving, so in a couple of weeks he will be a member of the squad.”
Defender Matthews is expected to be out for another four weeks after injuring his ankle in the 6-3 Capital One Cup win against Exeter last month.
But Advocaat will be looking forward to having the majority of his newly-boosted squad fit and ready for action.
“I said to the players at the end of last season that we needed four to six new players,” he said.
“It wasn’t that they were not good enough but that we needed more competition in the squad.”
Sunderland’s next game is at home to Tottenham in the Premier League a week on Sunday, and is followed in the league by trips to Bournemouth and Manchester United.
The latter two games sandwich a Capital One Cup clash away to Manchester City.