Campbell refuses to rush return

Campbell refuses to rush return

Published Jan. 16, 2012 1:15 p.m. ET

Campbell has been out of action since August 2010 after suffering a second knee injury as he prepared to return to action after an initial lengthy lay-off with cruciate ligament damage.

Following a series of practice matches, Campbell played and scored for the reserves last week, and while he is nearing the point where he can be considered for selection by Martin O'Neill, he is determined not to risk his recovery by rushing things.

The 24-year-old told the club's official website: "It's always good to get a goal, but the most important thing is making sure the knee is all right.

"I have been training for a while and the big thing is that these things take time. As much as I want to be back playing, I know everyone's got to be talking to each other to make sure the knee is sound.


"I'm almost having to hold myself back. This is one of the worst parts - those final few weeks just seem to drag, but I know I have to take it steady."

Having come so near to a return in April last year, Campbell is not prepared to leave anything to chance after being forced to write off such a large proportion of the last two years of his career.

He said: "The training-ground matches have helped me, I haven't felt sluggish or anything.

"But rushing things results in niggles. When I come back I want to be at my best, I don't want to be half-hearted."

When he does return to the senior scene, Campbell will do so to a squad which has been revitalised by the arrival of O'Neill.

The Black Cats were unfortunate not to return from Chelsea with something to show for their efforts at the weekend as they slipped to just their second defeat in the Ulsterman's eight games to date.

Campbell said: "It's brilliant being around the place. We have had a great run of form and the lads are playing really well, so there's a buzz.

"A lot of football is confidence and if you're winning games, it makes you feel like a different person.

"I'm desperate to be a part of it. We're full of confidence week in, week out and it's spreading."

Sunderland returned from London, however, with a fresh injury headache after Matt Kilgallon left the field on a stretcher with an ankle problem to join fellow central defenders Titus Bramble and Wes Brown on the casualty list.