Jan Kirchhoff will make his highly-anticipated comeback when Sunderland travel to Rochdale on Tuesday evening.
The German midfielder became a key member of the first-team squad following his January move from Bayern Munich, but a hamstring injury has curtailed his involvement during the early stages of the 2016-17 season.
Back in training, Kirchhoff is set to play a role in the Black Cats’ Checkatrade Trophy clash with Rochdale at Spotland.
And he won’t be the only first-team player involved according to first-team coach Stockdale.
“We’re looking at some game time for big Kirchhoff,” revealed Stockdale. “I’m just checking on another two senior players later today to see if they’re ready to go.
“It will be a mixed squad.”
He added: “We have some extra time due to our next game being on a Monday night and the training group hasn’t been large this week with players on international duty.
“Fingers crossed they return unscathed and the like I said we have an extra couple of days to prepare for the Everton game.”