injured duo back to boost Sunderland against Wigan

INJURY WOES ... Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.
INJURY WOES ... Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.

SULLEY Muntari and Anton Ferdinand are likely to be back from injury to boost Steve Bruce’s selection options against Wigan Athletic tomorrow.

But Kieran Richardson and Danny Welbeck are only rated 50:50 to be involved in a game which Sunderland simply have to win to avoid being drawn into the thick of the relegation scrap.

Muntari, Ferdinand and Welbeck have all been troubled by hamstring strains while Richardson took a blow to the calf – all four missing last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Birmingham City at St Andrews.

But Muntari and Ferdinand are now on the verge of winning their fitness battles and Welbeck and Richardson are not far behind.

That will be a help to Bruce who has seen his squad ripped apart by injuries.

But it is by no means certain that any of the quartet will go straight back into the team tomorrow, even if they are available.

The manager was heartened by the quality of his team’s performance against Birmingham City last Saturday, even though it ended in 2-0 defeat – young Jack Colback making his first Premier League start in midfield and Jordan Henderson looking rejuvenated after being rested the game previously, the 3-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion at the Stadium of Light.

Bruce said: “Individual errors cost us against Birmingham and you can’t legislate for those but overall I don’t think there’s any doubt that we were the better side on the day.

“It was the best we’ve played in weeks and I’ve got to consider that, going into the game against Wigan.

“There was a refreshing energy and enthusiasm about the display, a lot of encouraging signs and I think that playing a few more fully fit players, or players who weren’t making their way back from injury so much, was a big help to us.”