Sunderland manager David Moyes has revealed that Fabio Borini is close to making his return to action but the striker will not be ready to visit his former side when the Black Cats face Liverpool on Saturday (26 November). Moyes also confirmed the weekend trip to Anfield will come too early for Seb Larsson and Jan Kirchhoff.
Borini is yet to feature since suffering a groin injury during the 1-1 draw at Southampton on 28 August. But Moyes has revealed that the former Liverpool forward is in the last phase of his recovery and should be back available for the busy Christmas period.
"Fabio is doing better," Moyes said in the press conference ahead of the trip to Liverpool. "He has not joined training but he is doing a bit of running, cycling and keeping himself fit. He will need a couple of weeks' training to get the football training into him. He is a naturally fit lad anyway.
"I am not seeing him out on the training ground every day, the odd run here and there but not a regular at the moment. I think he will be back shortly but I couldn't put an exact timescale on it, with a bit of luck he might only be two to three weeks away.
Larsson is yet to play a single Premier League game for Sunderland this season due to a serious knee injury while Kirchhoff has been struggling with hamstring problems since the beginning of the campaign, having been out since picking up a fresh niggle during the draw with West Brom in October.
The two midfielders looked on course to be back for the weekend trip to Liverpool after both played and scored in the 2-0 victory over the Manchester United under-23s earlier this week. However, they will need to wait until the following game against Leicester City as Moyes ruled them out for Anfield.
"I don't think Seb and Jan are ready, but I think they are near to returning," he said.
The return of Larsson and Kirchhoff would be especially welcomed by Moyes after midfielder Paddy McNair was ruled out for the rest of the campaign, after the youngster ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the 3-0 victory over Hull City.
Long-term absentee Lee Cattermole also remain on the sidelines while Papy Djilobodji will also miss the trip to Liverpool due to suspension.
Sunderland will be looking to continue their good momentum at Liverpool after having secured their two victories of the Premier League in the two last games against Bournemouth and Hull.
"We've been competitive away from home and close to winning games so we will go there and make it difficult for Liverpool. It's not easy to get back-to-back wins when you're at the bottom, so the players are in good spirits," Moyes said.
"Liverpool are a really good football club with great support, and they've had some fantastic players over the years.
"It's always been tough to go to Anfield and they've always had good teams, so it's always difficult to beat them. We won last weekend against Hull City and we go into the game after a good couple of victories, so hopefully we can go to Anfield and do the same again."