Duncan Watmore says he won’t risk his Sunderland comeback – despite itching to get back into first-team action.
The Black Cats’ forward has been out since last December after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury.
The 23-year-old made his first appearance in nine months at the weekend, playing 45 minutes for the Under-23s against Manchester City.
Watmore grabbed a goal from the penalty spot and looked lively throughout his run-out.
His return to the fold is a welcome boost for boss Simon Grayson, who is short of attacking options after Lewis Grabban’s injury and Sunderland’s failure to add another striker to their squad on transfer deadline day.
But after such a slong spell on the sidelines, Watmore insists he won’t jeopardise his fitness by rushing his comeback.
He said: “You always want to be playing but I can’t rush it. I’ve been patient for nine months so there’s no point in rushing the last two weeks. That’s the way I see it.
“You’ve just got to keep listening to the advice of the physios and do what they say.
“You’ve always got to be very level-headed with these type of injuries and take it easy. That’s what I’ve been doing and being patient, and I’m looking forward to getting back out and playing.”
The Under-23s play West Ham United at Eppleton and Watmore is looking forward to another run-out after last weekend’s goalscoring return.
“I’m going to train this week and then play Sunday with the Under-23s again because I need to ease my way back in, and then we’ll take it from there,” he added.
“It’s been a frustrating nine months but it’s great to be back playing again. I really enjoyed it.
“You always want to score after such a long injury. It’s always nice if you score straight away and hit the ground running, and that’s what I managed to do.
“I probably had another couple of chances I could have scored as well.
“But I felt good and I felt fresh so it was nice.”