FRAIZER CAMPBELL is confident he can finish the season as Sunderland’s wingman after replacing the sidelined Seb Larsson.
Striker Campbell made his first start in eight as a makeshift right winger in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Bolton after Larsson was ruled out of the season’s finale following a hernia operation.
Swede Larsson has been Sunderland’s first-choice on the right of midfield this season, starting 24 of 36 Premier League games there, before going under the knife to keep his hopes alive of appearing at the summer’s European Championships.
But Campbell, who played on the flank during his first year on Wearside, has no issue with dropping deeper and hopes he can keep his place for Sunday’s trip to Fulham (2pm kick-off).
The 24-year-old told the Echo: “I’ve played out on the right for Sunderland and did it while I was younger, too, so it doesn’t really bother me. My main aim is just to get playing.
“There is a lot more defensive work involved and then you’ve got to get up the other end as well.
“But, as a striker, I’m going to get forward as much as possible so hopefully I can still get among the goals.
“Seb has been fantastic for us this season and scored some vital goals, as well as working his socks off.
“It’s hard on him that he won’t be able to finish the season after getting his hernia done, but he’d been playing through the pain for a few weeks.
“The Euros are a big occasion for him and it would have been harsh for him to miss it.”
Campbell felt the effects of his exertions against Bolton after he was replaced with 20 minutes to go due to cramp.
But he believes that is an inevitable side-effect of being largely confined to the substitutes bench since returning from 17 months on the sidelines with knee injuries.
“I have not played much football over the last few weeks so it was nice to get some minutes under my belt,” said Campbell.
“I have not really had a good run of five or six games in a row recently and it’s pretty hard to get match fitness.
“I got cramp, but I was out a pretty long time and it still takes its toll.”
Campbell was unable to prevent Sunderland’s winless run extending to six, as the Black Cats paid the price for two slack pieces of defending that allowed January transfer target Kevin Davies to net a brace.
The England international knows Sunderland cannot afford to make the same errors this weekend as they face a Fulham side boasting the sixth most prolific home attack in the top flight.
“We had the chances to win against Bolton after going ahead in the game, so it was disappointing not to hold on for the three points,” added the former Manchester United man.
“We have been fantastic at the back recently, and for most of the season really, so it was disappointing that a couple of errors cost us.
“But I’m sure the lads will shake themselves off for Sunday’s game.”