FRAIZER Campbell aims to come of age as a Sunderland striker next season, and has targeted a double figures goals tally in the 2012/13 campaign.
The 24-year-old, who joined the Black Cats from Manchester United in the summer of 2009, has seen his career at the Stadium of Light blighted by two career-threatening cruciate ligament injuries.
But he returned to first-team action in January this year and believes that, after a close-season break and with a good pre-season behind him, he can finally deliver on his undoubted potential.
That will be music to the ears of Martin O’Neill.
The Sunderland manager went into the close season vowing to bring in players who could manage double figure returns next season, but he will be delighted if part of the solution can be found closer to home.
The striker said: “I would like to think, if I played the majority of games, I could easily hit double figures.
“But I just want to concentrate on being fit and putting myself in a position where I can be the player who helps solve the goalscoring problems.
“I have not been playing regularly for the last couple of seasons, so it would hard to put a tag of prolific striker on me.
“For me, it is just a case of concentrating on my football and if I score a few goals then I score a few goals – it is something to aim for.
“If I have a good pre-season and get as fit as everybody else then it helps you a lot.
“During the season, the training is not as intense as it is at the beginning and you don’t really get that good solid base, but hopefully this time it will be different for me.”
Certainly, Campbell will hope Sunderland start next season in better form than they finished the last one.
After a stunning initial upturn of results upon O’Neill’s arrival in December, Sunderland’s form fell away badly towards the end of the campaign, with the Wearsiders subsiding from eight place at one stage to a last day 13th.
“Thank God that’s over!” smiled Campbell, referring to Sunderland’s slump towards the end of the season, although he personally was simply thrilled to be back.
“Obviously, it was disappointing to be injured all that time, but, having said that, it did make it even more special when I came back, scored the goal and got my England cap, so it’s mixed emotions really.
“There have been some good bits and some rubbish bits, but hopefully I can continue with the good and leave all the other stuff behind.
“It has been a strange one, but I will be back next season.”