Sunderland defender Wes Brown is nearing full fitness following a knee injury that has seen him miss almost a year.
The 32 year old former Manchester United defender has only made seven appearances for boss Martin O'Neill.
"Wes is making good progress, although the number of times I've said that is unbelievable," said O'Neill.
"He's not that far away again from getting back into training.
"He's had a few setbacks, but he's working exceptionally hard.
"It's been a frustrating time for him and it must get you down when you're out for that length of time."