Duncan Watmore on comeback, Sunderland support and THAT challenge by Preston North End keeper

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Duncan Watmore says there is "no better feeling" after making his return from a serious knee injury that kept him out of the Sunderland side for nine months.

The 23-year-old forward made his first appearance for the first team since December at Preston North End after battling back from cruciate knee ligament damage.

Duncan Watmore is clattered by Preston keeper Chris Maxwell.

Duncan Watmore is clattered by Preston keeper Chris Maxwell.

Watmore, who should have been awarded a penalty after a foul from Ben Davies in the 2-2 draw, was also clattered by keeper Chris Maxwell in a frenzied second half at Deepdale.

Sub Watmore came on in the 64th minute, the 3,000-strong Sunderland support giving him a welcome he won't forget.

"There is no better feeling, it has been a long nine months, very frustrating but it is great to be out there. I really enjoyed it," said Watmore.

"When you get a reception like that it makes the hard work worth it.

"You can train all you like but you can't recreate the physical contact you get in a game, it [the keeper's challenge] hurt a bit but it is what you need.

"I thought there were a few fouls on me in the box but I haven't seen them back.

"It was a shame we couldn't get the win because I thought we could well have got the three points.

"It is a point we can build on, it hasn't been going our way, that much is obvious but it is a great bunch of lads and the gaffer has been great - everyone is on the same page.

"We haven't been showing it in terms of results but I'm very confident we can turn that around."

Watmore has been working hard on his rehab under the expert guidance of Sunderland physio David Binningsley at the Academy of Light over the past nine months alongside midfielder Paddy McNair, also out with a serious knee injury.

And the pacy forward has praised the efforts of the medical staff.

"All the medical staff have been brilliant with me, particularly Binners [David Binningsley]," said Watmore.

"He has been there for nine months with me and Paddy [McNair] and he said it has made him lose a bit of hair because we can be a pair of jokers!

"All the staff have been great, too many to mention individually.

"It is never nice to be injured, nine months is a long time but they have done their best to make sure you enjoy it and when you come back are sharp.

"The international break is a good chance to have a break, QPR is a big game for us and we are going to try and win it."