FRAIZER Campbell insists he won’t risk aggravating his knee injury by a hasty comeback despite being pencilled in to appear for a reserves game next week.
The Sunderland striker returned to full contact training this week after receiving the all-clear from the specialist on Monday.
The 23-year-old is in contention to play for the second string in next week’s behind-closed-doors game with West Ham in his first outing since rupturing his cruciate knee ligament last August.
But Campbell is prepared to take a patient approach over his return to first-team action with the ex-Manchester United frontman not likely to be involved in the Premier League until next month.
Campbell told the Echo: “You don’t want to rush coming back. You want to take your time.
“There’s only a couple of games this month so there’s no massive rush. I just want to make sure I’m back to my best.
“I don’t want to come back and not be firing on all cylinders, I want to be the best player I can be. I’ve been missing six months and I’m dying to get back into a game.
“But you have to be sensible at the same time.
“I’ve waited six months, what’s another three weeks to get myself back into it?”
Campbell does realise, though, that Sunderland need an injection of fresh legs into the fold after four successive defeats.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has been unable to make any changes to his jaded side with the likes of Campbell, David Meyler, Lee Cattermole and Michael Turner sidelined with long-term injuries.
“We had a busy Christmas period and maybe it has taken its toll on the small squad we’ve got,” said Campbell. “We’ve had quite a few injuries. But any player coming back is a big bonus, especially for me. I’d be delighted to get back involved even in training.
“Hopefully I can lift the rest of the guys and we can get back on our way. Tuesday was my first contact training so hopefully I can continue until the end of the week and see how I feel from there.
“Hopefully, there won’t be any negative reaction.”
Campbell is confident Sunderland can overcome their losing streak at second top Arsenal on Saturday after dropping out of the top seven for the first time since early November with defeat at Everton last weekend.
He said: “Obviously the players are a bit of upset. In the three defeats before the last game, they hadn’t played particularly bad football and deserved to get something out of the games.
“But it happens in football. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t continue this run - have a little re-think and hopefully go into the next game with a better performance.
“We’re still in the top 10. Every team has a bad run through the season and hopefully we can finish strongly like we did towards the end of last season.”