AIDEN McGEADY is ready to be unleashed on the League One play-offs as Sunderland look to take a big step towards a second Wembley appearance of the season on Saturday.

The Irish winger has missed the last couple of games because of the foot injury which has required painkilling injections that allowed him to play in previous fixtures.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross decided to rest him at Fleetwood and Southend in a bid to get him back to fitness in time for a play-off battle.

And now McGeady is set to slot straight back in against Portsmouth in the semi-final first leg at the Stadium of Light on Saturday night.

“Aiden will train tomorrow, but that has been a conscious decision,” said Ross. “He possibly could have trained today, but the long break he’s been able to have has been of real benefit to him.

“Ideally, we’ve have another two/three week rest and he would be completely healed, but he’s certainly benefited from the week, he feels good and is looking forward to the game.

“People will always point to his natural ability and the level of the game that he’s played at, but what he’s done this season is marry that with a real hunger about his play, and a desire to try and take the club back up.

“That’s been reflected in his performances and when you marry those two things together it’s always going to be talismatic for you time-after-time. To have him back available is a huge boost for us.

“We recognise the quality he brings and the more match-winners you can have in your team the bigger chance you have.”

In fact Sunderland will not have any other injured players for the double header because even Duncan Watmore has now returned to training after his lay-off.

Ross said: “We’re pretty much at full strength now. Aiden (McGeady) has benefited from this extended break that we’ve managed to give him.

“Lee (Cattermole) and George (Honeyman) had some minor issues that made them miss the Southend game but they’ll be fine.

“We’ve even had Duncan training with the group this week as well. Saturday will be maybe be a little too soon for him but we’re in good health going into the weekend.”

And Ross knows that his experienced men could prove crucial in such a huge double header with Pompey, with the second leg at Fratton Park on Thursday.

He said: "There is plenty in our squad. You can look at those players who’ve experienced a higher level of the game, such as Aiden and Lee and Grant Leadbitter and so on.

“Equally, we have players like Luke O’Nien and Charlie Wyke who’ve experienced play-offs and play-off success, so we have a nice balance in our squad.

“I think these games are more about being able to handle big games, rather than handle the play-offs specifically, and I think the number of players we have in our squad that have that, and equally I think we’ve been better this season in the big games - performances have been better, not always reflected in the result. but certainly in performance levels if I was to pick out our best performances, I think a lot of them would have been in those so-called bigger games.”