David Moyes is weighing up whether to start with Lee Cattermole and Victor Anichebe for the first time this season against Manchester United tomorrow.
But he warned that the Nigerian is not yet ready to complete 90 minutes.
Both made their eagerly anticipated return to action in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester City, Moyes impressed with both of their endeavours.
Cattermole impressed in his 73-minute outing, largely dominating Wilfried Ndidi and Danny Drinkwater, particularly in an impressive first-half showing.
Anichebe was brought on after Islam Slimani’s opener, and came within inches of scoring a precious equaliser when his deflected effort hit the post.
Moyes says he is ready to feature again tomorrow, but isn’t yet sure what his role will be.
He said: “The players were off (on Thursday), but both have trained (yesterday) and they have recovered and I think they looked OK.
“Victor was the one in the game where I thought he looked a little bit hesitant in some of his movements, but I was just glad to have him back out on the pitch.
“I think, in the time that he was on, he helped us in some ways. We’re in a position where we need to take risks. Can he play 90 minutes? Probably not. Can he play some minutes? Yes.
“I thought Catts played well in the game for someone who was making virtually his first appearance of the season after six months out. His leadership has been missing and having him back is a good thing.
“From that point of view, I was pleased with them both.”
Cattermole understandably began to tire as the second half progressed, and Moyes was also concerned by the first-half booking the Black Cats captain picked up.
He will be in contention to face Manchester United, however, with Steven Pienaar also in contention to make a return to the squad.
Moyes said: “That was one of the reasons why I took him off. I think he could have played longer, but I didn’t want him to get to the stage where he was fatigued or got injured.
“But the biggest thing was the yellow card. We were going to start chasing the game and I didn’t want him to run the risk of getting sent off.
“Steven Pienaar has trained and I would say he is now very close to being involved.
“The other three – Duncan Watmore, Paddy McNair, and Jan Kirchhoff – are still out.
“You won’t see Duncan or Paddy this season, that’s for sure, and we may or may not see Kirch, but, at the moment, I would say not.”