Vito Mannone says he feels like “a goalkeeper again” after making his return from an elbow injury.
The Sunderland keeper has been out since the end of August with an injury picked up at the end of a training session, with the Italian requiring surgery.
He was originally due to be out for around three months but returned to full training last week and starts for Sunderland against Notts County in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight at the Stadium of Light (7.30pm kick-off).
Mannone has praised the club’s medical staff for helping him get back to action far quicker than expected.
“It’s a great feeling and I’m really happy I have completed a number of sessions already so it’s a good feeling,” said Mannone.
“I feel like a goalkeeper again and I have joined up with the team and that’s great.
“I said in the beginning it was a challenge but I really embraced the challenge and enjoyed it.
“With the help of the medical staff and everyone involved along with the specialists, it has been a success because I was supposed to come back in three months and I’m back in eight/nine weeks.
“It is important that we are getting bodies back and it’s very important for the young lads because we have put a lot of responsibility on them to step up.
“When you have these bodies around the building and the squad is all together you can push towards better results,” Mannone told the club website.