Duncan Watmore feeling '˜really good' as Sunderland step up striker search
Duncan Watmore is encouraged by his progress as he recovers from a second ACL injury.
Watmore has been out of action since November last year, when after six appearances back in a red-and-white shirt, he suffered a recurrence of the injury that kept him out for most of the campaign as Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League.
The 24-year-old will miss the early stages of the League One campaign as he continues to rehabilitation but he has travelled to Portugal with his team-mates for a pre-season training camp.
Most encouragingly, he has been able to do some training with a ball as part of the process.
Watmore told safc.com: “I’ve been out on the grass for quite a while now, a couple of months, building up the running. I feel really good.
“Today was a lot more change of direction stuff, which is really important with such a serious knee injury.
“That’s the thing I probably need to build my confidence most up on, that sharp changes on to my left foot.
“But I watched a bit back from the film and I look like I’m starting to feel like it’s natural, as opposed to it being really obvious that I’ve got this injury which is obviously what I need as I can’t come back if there’s still an issue.
“I’m really positive and it’s great to be back with the balls out and back on grass, and getting closer to training.”
Watmore’s return will be a huge boost for Jack Ross, who has limited attacking options at the minute.
Teenage duo Joel Asoro and Josh Maja are the only fit forwards with first-team experience, while Andrew Nelson is hoping to impress Ross in pre-season.
It highlights Sunderland’s desperate need for new strikers this summer, and having missed out on Florian Kamberi and Lyle Taylor, Ross has been linked with moves for Preston’s Eoin Doyle and Nottingham Forest forward Jason Cummings.
Both are available this summer. Doyle spent last season in League One on loan at Oldham, scoring 14 goals, while Cummings has been scouted by Sunderland in the past.