Hull forward Sone Aluko is ready to put nearly four months of frustration behind him after finally recovering from the Achilles injury that has wrecked his season.
Aluko was one of the Tigers' brightest performers at the start of the campaign, and scored a memorable winner at Newcastle in what remains Hull's only away win.
But he has not featured since October 19, when the injury problems that ruled him out of the second half of Hull's promotion push last term struck again.
Manager Steve Bruce has consistently bemoaned the absence of a player who knits together his midfield and strikers better than any other, but having put him through his paces in a reserve team match on Thursday his return is imminent.
Bruce is understandably wary about throwing Aluko into action too soon, particularly after Robbie Brady broke down one game into his own comeback earlier in the season, but believes he is ready to get started.
When Aluko does return to the line-up, he will find a much-changed forward line in front of him.
Bruce spent £14million on Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long in January, cutting short Danny Graham's loan spell in the process as well as shunting Yannick Sagbo down the pecking order.
And, with six points covering the bottom half of the Barclays Premier League table, Bruce believes the relegation battle could be settled by strikers.
The trip to the Stadium of Light marks Bruce's first visit to the stadium since being sacked as Sunderland boss in November 2011 and, although he anticipates a rough reception, he is not concerned.
Bruce has previously suggested his history as a Newcastle fan undermined his work at the club, but he was in no mood to reopen that conversation.