Paddy McNair is confident that he and Duncan Watmore will be able to play a full part in Sunderland’s pre-season schedule.
The Northern Ireland international is recovering well from a cruciate injury picked up in November, and has hailed the rehab schedule which has him back on the grass.
He said: “I’m out running now, so that’s nice to be back out on the pitch. Pre-season is my aim, just to go in normally and start the season new.
“There’s 7, 8 or 9 Premier League footballers who have done it this season. I think compared to 10, 20 years ago, they know a lot about it and the rehab I’m getting here is fantastic, I’m really happy with it.
“All being well, Duncan will be back as well.
“I maybe wouldn’t have been able to come back as strong, or it might have taken longer to come back [compared with decade ago]. I’m still 21, I’ve still got a long career ahead of me, there’s plenty of time.”
McNair has watched the treatment room fill up in a wretched season, but says his team-mates can get momentum from players returning to action.
He said: “There has been a lot of injuries, I think now it isn’t as bad. The treatment room isn’t as busy, I think it is just me, Duncan and Jan in there now. The squad is looking a lot more fuller and hopefully that can help us kick on for the rest of the season.”