When Fraizer Campbell hit all four goals in Sunderland’s 4-2 win against Hull City during the summer warm-ups in Portugal, he must have thought to himself: “This is going to be a great season for me.”
Having seen him as our most improved player towards the end of last season, I certainly agreed. But just over a month later, on Aug 29, as my birthday was rewarded by a 1-0 win over Man City with that last-minute penalty by one Darren Bent, Campbell suffered an accidental knee injury and began a long layoff.
After a promising, goalscoring return in the Reserves, he twisted the same knee in training ahead of a near-certain recall to the squad for the return at Eastlands earlier this month. Heaven knows how much we needed him then, and have needed him since.
Sadly, this is today’s news, which you’ll have seen already but I caught up with only tonight after a day spent working in Italy.
It’s from, of all places, the Morning Star (do they still run the Peter Pink appeal fund aimed at getting the nation’s Communists to dig deep to keep the paper afloat?) …
Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell underwent knee surgery today which will rule him out for the bulk of next season.
The Black Cats confirmed that the 23-year-old, who has missed all but four games of the current season with cruciate ligament damage, needs a second operation.
Manager Steve Bruce revealed his fears over Campbell last week and they have now been realised.
He told the Sunderland Echo that the striker, who cost £3.5 million from Manchester United in 2009, “will 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 is strong mentally.”
I like the last few words. And I would love to see Campbell make them ring true, to show that he does indeed possess the mental strength to triumph over the appalling way in which his career has been interrupted.
Salut! Sunderland hopes with all its heart and its passion that he overcomes this injury, makes the strongest possible recovery and goes on to do so well in the game, preferably for SAFC, that he can eventually look back on it as an annoying but temporary setback.