O'Neill delighted by Campbell's smiling return

 

Martin O'Neill paid a glowing tribute to Fraizer Campbell after the forward emerged from an 17-month injury nightmare that threatened his career to earn Sunderland a replay against neighbours Middlesbrough.

Campbell was recovering from an operation on his anterior cruciate ligament when he suffered the same injury, breaking down in training in April last year. He was forced back under the knife and his appearance yesterday as a second-half substitute was his first since August 2010. Such has been his attitude during that bleak period that the Sunderland physio, Dave Galley, said he had never helped a player with a more positive spirit during such a length of recovery. For O'Neill the player's return kept his Sunderland side in the FA Cup.

"I'm really delighted for him," O'Neill said. "I think everyone is around here, it is hard not to be after what he has been through. I think it was his first or second touch when he scored. He gave us something extra.

"Our phsyio tells me he may well be the best of the lot in terms of never being down, after the injury. To get the same injury again, you thought it might be it. He knuckled down again. He does always a smile on his face, he's in there and he gives everyone a lift around the football club."

Campbell himself added: "Personally I'm delighted to be back out there. I can't put it into words. It's been a tough 18 months. Hopefully I can get some fitness back and do what I do. I'm sure we will take a load of fans there [at the replay at the Riverside] and make it a good atmosphere."

Barry Robson had put Middlesbrough ahead after just 16 minutes. His mistake however, just before the hour mark, sent Sunderland away for their equaliser.

"It is a pass you make nine times out of 10, but it bounced up and went to their player," he said. "That's football. A few players in our team have played at a higher level. We have to prove we can get there. It is bitter-sweet because of the pass. It is a simple task like that to pass the ball back. That happens. It's football and we move on."

The Middlesbrough manager, Tony Mowbray, added: "We could have lost heart after the equaliser but we pushed on and if anything, the dressing room is disappointed.

"We have to put it into perspective. We've played a team that has beaten Manchester City and Swansea and probably is the form team in the Premier League."

O'Neill confirmed he will make a renewed attempt to sign striker Kevin Davies from Bolton. "I have made an enquiry and Owen [Coyle] would want to try and keep him but wouldn't stand in his way. I may well follow that up tomorrow morning."

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders