Sunderland’s Fraizer Campbell reflects on fairytale goal in FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough

GOAL THREAT ... Fraizer Campbell celebrates his comeback goal.
GOAL THREAT ... Fraizer Campbell celebrates his comeback goal.

FRAIZER Campbell insists he always confident of making a mark this season after sparing Sunderland’s blushes with a fairytale return in the Wear-Tees derby, writes Chris Young.

Campbell ended a torturous 18 months on the sidelines with the leveller in yesterday’s 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough after Martin O’Neill introduced the fit-again striker as a half-time substitute.

The 24-year-old underwent a second operation on knee ligament damage last April and was expected to be out of action for a full calendar year with the career threatening injury.

But Campbell overcame the mental barrier of such a serious relapse to return ahead of schedule and earn Sunderland a replay at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday week, with the winners facing a home draw with Arsenal in the fifth round.

Campbell told SportMail: “It’s quite high in my career highlights after being out for such a long time.

“Sometimes you don’t know when the end of the road is going to come. But hopefully now I’m on the path to getting fully fit.

“When you first do it, you wake up from the operation and mentally it’s tough.

“But it has made me a stronger person now than I was back then. Hopefully I can come back a better player. I always planned to come back this season, around the New Year.”

Read more of Fraizer Campbell’s thoughts, plus Graeme Anderson’s full match report, reaction and photos, in today’s Sportmail.