BILLY JONES hopes his successful completion of two games inside 48 hours is a sign that his hamstring problems have been solved.
Jones has been plagued by injuries since joining Sunderland on a Bosman deal during the summer – missing the start of the season with a hamstring strain and then spending more than two months on the treatment table after suffering the same injury during a behind-closed-doors game against Middlesbrough in October.
The 27-year-old was similarly troubled by hamstring problems at former club West Brom and has been receiving treatment from a specialist during his stint on the sidelines.
That additional help appears to have paid off, with Jones completing his second 90 minutes in three days in yesterday’s 0-0 draw at Aston Villa after being forced back into the fold prematurely due to injuries to fellow full-backs Patrick van Aanholt and Anthony Reveillere.
Jones said: “Every time it happens, and unfortunately for me it’s happened a few times over the last year, there’s always a big inquest.
“You have a chat about it and you want to get to the bottom of it.
“One of the things West Brom had talked about was seeing this particular specialist.
“The Sunderland staff thought there was a need for it as well, and I had a number of injections into the nerve.
“In my eyes, it’s worked to play two games in three days.
“To be honest, I knew personally that the last one was the worst one I had.
“It was a lot more tender and it felt different, and that showed on the scan.
“There was a best-case scenario, but unfortunately there were a few setbacks and maybe I was trying to push it too soon, and that adds weeks on.
“I was disappointed to be out so long, but I always said that the important thing is once you are back, you need to stay fit.”
While Jones was pleased on a personal level to have lasted the duration at Villa Park, he shared the sense of disappointment at Sunderland’s failure to record all three points after the dismissal of Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph early in the second half.
Sunderland’s inability to find a breakthrough prompted Poyet to hold a dressing room discussion with his players afterwards, following an 11th draw from 19 Premier League outings.
“We’re disappointed because we know these last two games (against Hull and Villa) could easily have been two wins, and that would have made it three wins on the bounce after Newcastle,” added Jones.
“When Villa went down to 10 men, we saw how we need to improve in the final third – create more chances and take more chances.
“At times, we looked a bit vulnerable because we were so gung ho.
“But we feel it’s two points lost.
“The gaffer knows how disappointed we are as a collective.
“I don’t think he felt the need to rant and rave afterwards.
“It was just a general discussion.
“We’re not happy drawing against 10 men, we feel like it’s two points dropped really.”