Sunderland striker’s successful return to training

Steven Fletcher
Steven Fletcher

STEVEN FLETCHER has come through his return to training unscathed after his injury scare on international duty.

Sunderland breathed a sigh of relief this week after scans on the ankle knock suffered by Fletcher in Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifying win over Ireland last Friday showed there was no lasting damage.

Fletcher was given a few days of rest to recover from the injury, but suffered no adverse reactions when he returned to the training pitch this morning.

And after coming through that test, Sunderland boss Gus Poyet expects the Black Cats’ top scorer to lead the line in Saturday’s trip to Leicester City.

Poyet said today: “I felt really bad for an hour or so (last Friday). I texted him straightaway and the doctor contacted me straightaway.

“Then when I saw him on the pitch at the end of the game, even with his protective boot, I felt a bit better.

“But then we were pleased that the medical staff of Scotland sent him back, we checked, rested him and he reacted well to the treatment.

“He trained for the first time this morning with no problem, so if everything goes alright tomorrow, he should be there.

“He needed a rest for two or three days before slowly building him up in the pool and bike.

“We knew if he was out today and there were no reactions, he’d be alright.”

Fletcher’s four goals this season have come in each of Sunderland’s two Premier League victories, with the £12million frontman returning to the kind of form he showed when he first arrived at the Stadium of Light.

Poyet admits there is an inevitable concern over keeping Fletcher fit, but that this scare turned out to be a stress-free recovery.

“When you know the extent of the injury, yes, there’s players who we know are special at special moments of the season that you need to pay extra attention to,” he added.

“But this one in particular was quite straightforward.”

Fit-again pair Sebastian Coates and Ricky Alvarez have also handed Poyet a fitness boost with the South American duo back in training this week and expected to be in the squad at the King Power Stadium.

But the game has come too soon for Emanuele Giaccherini and Billy Jones, who are not expected to resume full training until next week.