Fletcher to boost Sunderland fitness during international break

Steven Fletcher
Steven Fletcher
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STEVEN Fletcher will use the international break to further boost his fitness after shrugging off his lack of action to bag a debut brace.

Fletcher marked his Premier League bow for Sunderland with two goals in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Swansea, to provide some instant payback on Martin O’Neill’s decision to pay £12million for the 25-year-old last month.

The Scottish striker remains short on match fitness after appearing for just 45 minutes for Wolves during pre-season due to a minor ankle problem.

But with Sunderland not in action again until Liverpool visit the Stadium of Light on September 15, Fletcher has the opportunity to work on his conditioning with Black Cats fitness coach Jim Henry.

Fletcher said: “With the break coming up, I can now get into the training ground and build up my fitness work.

“Every day and week is helping me and though I felt OK after 70 minutes on Saturday, I’m sure I will feel even better in the next one.

“I just need to build up some fitness. Some of the lads have international games coming up, so they will keep going and get fitter and I need to use this week wisely.

“It has taken a bit of pressure off me getting the goals straightaway.

“But there’s no pressure from the money, it doesn’t bother me.”

Fletcher opened his Sunderland account when he pounced on Ashley Williams’ misplaced back-pass before clinically rolling the ball beyond Swansea keeper Michael Vorm.

And after ex-Newcastle winger Wayne Routledge had equalised for the hosts, Fletcher regained the lead for Sunderland when he swept home Seb Larsson’s free-kick at the far post.

Fletcher added: “I just want to get in the box.

“There will be chances and I will take a tap-in all day. The delivery is fantastic from the boys.

“I was being regarded as a striker who could score goals with his head and not much else, so it is nice to get going like that.

“The more we play, the better we are likely to get together.

“You look at James (McClean), Sess (Stephane Sessegnon) and Adam (Johnson) behind me, you can’t ask for much more as a striker.

“Everyone knows about their ability and then even Seb (Larsson) has put in a good ball for my second goal.”

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