CORRY Evans will make his Sunderland return before the end of the season, Mike Dodds has confirmed - but that might not be the case with Dennis Cirkin, with the interim head coach stressing the importance of patience to the defender.

Club captain Evans hasn't played for the Black Cats since suffering a serious knee injury in January last year, but the midfielder has been back in full training for a month now and could be named in the matchday squad for this weekend's visit of Millwall.

If that's not the case, he's almost certain to be included for next week's trip to Watford.

The situation isn't as clear cut with Cirkin, however. The 22-year-old hasn't played since November and had hamstring surgery in January. The full-back has resumed light training but Dodds is desperate to ensure Sunderland don't rush him back too soon.

“It will definitely be too soon for Dennis," said Dodds ahead of the Millwall game.

"I’ve had a conversation with Dennis this morning. He part trained with the group. Obviously Dennis is very keen to be back amongst the squad and try and get involved.

"Unfortunately I’m going to have to be the voice of reason for him because he’s had a significant amount of time off. We want to try and get him on the pitch before the summer but I think we are going to have to take it week by week."

Dodds added: “Corry had a week where he had a little bit of a flare up with his groin. He has been training with the group. If not this weekend, definitely the following weekend providing everything goes alright with Corry."


Sunderland continue to monitor Nazariy Rusyn, who hasn't featured since the defeat at Southampton early last month and it's "touch and go" as to whether he'll play again before the end of the season.

Dodds said: "He’s part training with the group at the moment. I think the reality is this game and the next game will probably be too close. Sheffield Wednesday potentially will probably be more realistic.”

There are a couple of knocks in the camp that will be assessed ahead of Saturday's Millwall game.

“We’ve got a couple of niggles which we’ve had to be a little bit cautious with today, but the group are OK in the main," said Dodds.

"We’re fully prepared for the weekend, with a little bit of final preparations to do tomorrow. We know we’re going into a completely different type of game this weekend but we’ll be fully prepared for that."