Former Hartlepool United striker Andy Nelson has revealed that he has been forced to undergo surgery to deal with a recurring injury.
Nelson spent time on loan at Pools in 2017, making four appearances for the club as he looked to gain senior experience in League Two after having previously spent time with Harrogate Town.
The 21-year-old Sunderland frontman was tipped for a breakthrough campaign at the Stadium of Light this year after he excelled during a loan spell at Falkirk last season, netting four times in 12 appearances north of the border.
He was even handed an opportunity by ex-Pools defender Jack Ross in pre-season but picked up a knock during the 1-1 draw at the Super 6 Stadium.
That was the latest in a series of niggling injuries for the striker and left him sidelined for the early weeks of the season.
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But Nelson has now revealed that he has had successful surgery to address the underlying problem with the striker now eyeing a quick return to action.
On his Twitter page, Nelson posted: "After having a long duration of being out and a few minor setbacks, I can finally say I’ve had surgery to repair the underlying problem that’s had kept me from returning to play, looking forward to getting back out there on the pitch again."
Nelson's return could provide a boost to Ross, who is also without summer signing and fellow former Poolie Charlie Wyke as the striker looks set to miss several weeks after a recurrence of a knee injury.
That leaves the in-form Josh Maja and Jerome Sinclair as Sunderland's only senior striking options, but bringing Nelson into the fold could be an option once he has regained match fitness.
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It is likely that Nelson will feature for the Black Cats' under-23 side before any senior return - with youth boss Elliott Dickman suggesting that the frontman would top up his fitness with the youngsters.
"Andrew is still doing a little bit of rehab so at this moment in time he’s still with the medical team and he will be for a few more weeks," said Dickman, speaking at the start of the month.
"I’m sure he’ll probably play some games for us to help him get fit again but at the moment he’s just with the medical staff."