Midfielder Andy Reid will be travelling to Ireland as part of Sunderland's pre-season training next week after finally shaking off a calf problem which left him needing surgery.
Manager Steve Bruce said: “Andy will come with us. He’s only played three games since Christmas, which is quite incredible.
“It’s an important time for him. He’s had one or two injuries – now let’s hope he’s over it and gives himself the best possible chance.”
The Black Cats will face a Munster XI in Limerick next Tuesday evening, and then line-up against north-east neighbours Darlington at the Northern Echo Arena a week tomorrow before heading for Portugal, where they will play three games.
However 'keeper Craig Gordon will not be rushed back into action as he continues his recovery from surgery.
The 27-year-old Scotland international underwent operations on a hernia and his arm after last season drew to a close, and while he is nearing a return, he is unlikely to figure in the club’s pre-season campaign until their trip to Portugal.
Bruce told the club’s official website, www.safc.com: “Craig is back training.
“He had a hernia operation three weeks ago, so he will be fine in a week’s time.
“I don’t think I will play him against Munster or Darlington and he will likely get his first game in Portugal.”
Midfielder David Meyler, who suffered a serious knee injury against Manchester United in the Black Cats’ final home game of last season, remains on the long-term casualty list.
Bruce said: “David is progressing well with his rehab. He’s on course, but it’s a long, hard road back for him.”