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O'Neill hopeful of Bendtner availability for Sunderland cup clash

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill feels Nicklas Bendtner could be fit for the FA Cup quarter-final against Everton on Saturday. The Denmark striker, on loan from Arsenal for the season, was in serious doubt for the tie with a knee injury incurred in their recent 1-0 win over Liverpool.

"The news on Nicklas is encouraging," said O'Neill. "We had originally been expecting to wait 48 hours for swelling to go down around the knee before we could consider a scan.

"But the knee itself got much better in the 24 hours immediately afterwards, which looked good and it meant he felt quietly confident about doing a little bit of training yesterday.

"The very fact that he felt confident enough to want to try it out is obviously a good sign, but we just have to wait and see how it develops over the week and see whether there's any reaction.

"You can never pre-judge a game, but it wouldn't surprise me if the cup game against Everton is a tight affair and that being the case, you need players who can nick you a goal and players who can stop them going in at the other end.

"We had that at the weekend in what was a very tight game against Liverpool, but we were defensively very solid and we had players like Fraizer Campbell and Nicklas who always had the ability to be dangerous in attack."

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Dave Williams

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