FRAIZER CAMPBELL could be back in full training with Sunderland next week – a staggering three months ahead of schedule!
The former England Under 21 international was expected to be sidelined until February next year at the earliest after suffering knee ligament damage in training in April.
That was his second such serious injury in the space of eight months, having originally damaged the knee ligaments in a game against Manchester City last August.
But Black Cats boss Steve Bruce today confirmed that the 24-year-old is on the verge of returning to full training, and could be back in the first-team by Christmas.
“We’re hoping Fraizer will be able to join in training with the rest of the squad by the back end of next week,” he revealed.
“We’d then be looking to organise a couple of behind-closed-doors games here at the training ground so he can test himself in a match situation.
“He has got a great mentality.
“He has worked so hard to get fit and done fantastically well to be three months ahead of schedule.
“It must be genetics – he is a natural athlete and that’s really helped him.
“He’s already running without so much as a limp.
“When Michael Turner was returning from his knee problem, for example, he wasn’t running properly when he first started light training and you only had to look at him to see it.
“But when Fraizer was running the other day, you wouldn’t have known there was anything wrong with him.It was incredible.”
Campbell has not played a first-team game for 15 months and had to undergo surgery in April with the medics suggesting it would be approaching a year before he was able to return to first-team action.
But the striker is looking to be back much, much sooner, giving Bruce a boost as he looks to steer his squad back from a freakish set of knee ligament injuries which have robbed him of the services of Campbell, David Meyler, Craig Gordon, Titus Bramble and Michael Turner for many months at a time.
Bramble returned for the start of the season, Turner resumed playing in September and Meyler in October.
Gordon and Campbell are the only two yet to return.
Campbell’s ahead-of-schedule return to training is a second boost Bruce has had on the striker front after it was found that fellow-striker Connor Wickham’s knee ligament injury – sustained in the opening couple of minutes of Sunderland’s defeat at Manchester United a fortnight ago – is also less serious than first feared.
Both could be ready to return in time for the festive programme.