STEVE Bruce admits he is struggling to contain his excitement as he watches Fraizer Campbell go through his paces in training in such impressive style.
But he has pledged he will resist the temptation to throw the flying forward back into the fray too early.
He said:“Fraizer has been phenomenal in terms of the speed with which he has come back to training.
“He’s three months ahead of schedule and let me tell you, that takes some doing. To shave three months off his comeback time is a bit special.
“And it isn’t as if he has pushed himself too unreasonably, he’s been watched and monitored, he has just been a very quick healer.
“There’s been no question of us rushing him back.”
The fact that the 24-year-old is back in training is one thing but the fact he is looking so sharp is quite another.
“To be honest he is really looking the part. His running is incredibly fluid, he is a natural athlete and looking at him training you wouldn’t have thought he had been out at all.
“But no matter how good he looks I have to keep reminding myself that he has come back from a very very serious injury and we have to look after him.
“He has been out for the better part of a season and a half and it is going to take him time to get back to being anywhere near his best.”
Bruce has of course been here before with Campbell.
The striker looked equally as impressive on his return from his first cruciate ligament injury, only to break down in training on the eve of returning to the team back in April.
And Bruce is determined to give Campbell every possible chance to ensure the same does not happen again.
He said: “Fraizer made up one quarter of possibly the best strike force Sunderland have had. At the start of last season we had him, Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan.
“For one reason or another he’s the last of those four that we can call on and there’s no secret that we are light in the striking department at the moment.
“But we have to resist any temptation to rush him back or to bring him back early.
“I am always a little wary when players come back so far ahead of schedule, it feels like tempting fate just to put them straight back in, even if they look or think themselves that they are ready.
“And we have to be particularly careful with him because of the fact that he’s had cruciates to the same knee.
“Fraizer has been out for a long time and he is looking good on his return to training but we intend to give him as long as possible before asking him to step it up and we won’t be taking any risks with him.
“When he does come back, we want him back for good.”