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The striker was ruled out for six weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in Paolo Di Canio's final game in charge, but Gus Poyet is confident over his involvement against Swansea

Steven Fletcher is nearing a return to the Sunderland first team, according to new manager Gus Poyet.

The 26-year-old was ruled out for up to six weeks following a shoulder injury sustained in the 3-0 defeat to West Brom on September 21.

However, the striker has returned to near-match fitness ahead of schedule and Poyet is confident Fletcher could be back in action as soon as Saturday's trip to Swansea City.

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Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, the Uruguayan manager said: "There is a big possibility [that Fletcher would be fit to face Swansea]. It's some of the very good news from this week.

With the Black Cats only managing five goals in seven games this season, Poyet is aware that his side need to find the back of the net.

Sunderland have amassed just one point from 21 available this season, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, but Poyet is hoping that Fletcher's return can give the squad a vital boost.

"Every player is important," Poyet continued. "But we know in football that there are a few positions that are key - the goalkeeper, the spine of the team and the main man up front scoring goals.

"We need goals, we need players who have got the ability and Fletcher is one of those players."

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