Sunderland return to League One action when they travel to Northampton Town on Saturday.
Lee Johnson’s men haven’t been able to fulfil their previous four league matches following a host of positive COVID-19 tests saw their games against Shrewsbury, Blackpool, Hull and Accrington Stanley all postponed.
However, the Black Cats squad returned to the grass on Thursday morning after their training base was closed due to a high number of cases in recent weeks.
And whilst Johnson’s team are now preparing for the trip to Sixfields in their opening League One fixture of 2021 – the Sunderland boss was able to welcome back defender Luke O’Nien and Denver Hume to the training pitch after both missed the entire festive period.
Quiz: Did these 20 things happen to Sunderland in 2020?
O’Nien hasn’t features since early December after suffering a shoulder problem against Burton, although the right-back only ended up missing four matches in all competitions, whilst Hume sustained a hamstring in Johnson’s first game in charge against Wigan four days later.
It remains unclear whether either will be fit enough to be involved against Northampton this coming weekend, but it’s a major boost for Sunderland heading into the New Year.
Here’s how the Stadium of Light faithful reacted to the news of their respective returns:
Does that mean O’Nien is ahead of recovery schedule?
— kevin defty (@kevindefty1) December 31, 2020
Very pleased with this… go on lads. 👍🏻
— Colin Woodruff (@laszlowoodbine) December 31, 2020
Haway the lads
— danny (@sunderlanddanny) December 31, 2020
— . (follow and like limit) (@SAFCLJ) December 31, 2020
— Guy (@guyharrissafc) December 31, 2020
— Acacia Cameron-Jude (@acacia_jude) December 31, 2020
— Megan💕 #ProjectAlwaysYou (@Megangaudie13) December 31, 2020