Vito Mannone ahead of schedule as Sunderland stopper battles back from elbow injury

Vito Mannone
Vito Mannone
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Vito Mannone is ahead of schedule and is hoping to make a swift return to action after elbow surgery.

The 28-year-old was ruled out for three months in late August after injuring his arm at the end of a training session.

But he is aiming to step up his recovery in the coming weeks as he targets a first team return.

Jordan Pickford, 22, has impressed in goal covering for Mannone, who faces a tough battle to reclaim his spot.

“I’m already ahead of schedule and it’s not as bad as we expected at the beginning,” revealed Mannone.

“I’m feeling really strong and I’m starting to go out and put more strength on my arm.

“Hopefully this will increase by each day and by the time I’ve got more power – we’re only going on the reaction of the arm, hopefully it is positive – I can be out there to help my team.

“It’s the luckiest injury you can get because as soon as I’d had my operation the surgeon told me to work on my flexibility, strength and power. I’m possibly at the stage where I’ve got the best outcome I could so far which is very positive, and hopefully I can step it up in the next few weeks.”

His Sunderland teammates travel to Stoke City this weekend for a bottom of the table clash.

Mannone added: “We understand the frustration of the fans and when I’m sitting next to them it’s easier to understand, but all I can say is that there’s been a lot of work in the training pitch and the manager has been trying to help the team get the results.

“We will pull our sleeves up and work, and hopefully the win will come.”