FRAIZER CAMPBELL remains positive over his future, despite the devastating confirmation that he will be out of action for another year.
The Sunderland striker goes under the knife today to repair cruciate knee ligament damage which will require at least 12 months of rehabilitation.
Campbell, who originally sustained the injury in August’s win over Manchester City, suffered a relapse in training prior to the reverse fixture earlier this month and also aggravated his Achilles – which will require surgery too.
Doubts now have to be raised over the 23-year-old’s long-term future after missing the best part of two years with two career-threatening injuries.
But Black Cats boss Steve Bruce insists the former Manchester United frontman is mentally tough enough to cope with another lengthy recuperation.
Bruce told the Echo: “Fraizer gets operated on today, he’ll be out for 12 months.
“He was out on the training ground yesterday having a bit of banter with the players. He’s taken it OK because he’s strong mentally.
“We’ve missed him, he came in at the start of the season and even the back end of last season and he was terrific.
“When you’re up against it you want people like him in the team.
“Thankfully, with his strength of mind, we think he’ll be OK. I hope he will be. If there’s anyone mentally tough enough, it’s him.”
The loss of Campbell along with the January departure of Darren Bent and a two-month injury absence of Danny Welbeck have crippled Sunderland’s attacking options this season.
But Campbell’s setback could have bigger repercussions over the long term, with Asamoah Gyan the only senior striker contracted to the club.
Bruce will now need to recruit at least two new strikers over the summer and is unlikely to land Welbeck on a second season-long loan deal from Manchester United.
“The injuries to Welbeck and Campbell have killed us,” added Bruce.
“Up front is the one area of the pitch where, for me, we were better than most at the start of the season with Bent, Gyan, Welbeck and Campbell.
“To go from what we started the season with to only having one striker now has made it really difficult.
“We’ve got to try and overcome that as well as we possibly can.
“It also puts a bit more pressure on us for next season.
“Going forward as a club we have to look to get over it because in the summer we’ve got one striker.”