Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher undergoes surgery
£12m signing will not play again this season
Thursday 18 April 2013
Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has undergone surgery to address the ankle injury which ended his season prematurely, the club has confirmed.
The 26-year-old Scotland international had an operation on Monday and is now targetting a swift as possible return to ensure he is available for the start of the new campaign.
Fletcher, a £12million summer signing from Wolves, remains the club's leading scorer for this season, but has missed the last three games after damaging ankle ligaments on international duty last month.
The Black Cats are yet to reveal details of his recovery period.
News of the frontman's absence for the remainder of the season was announced on the same day as skipper Lee Cattermole was ruled out with a persistent knee problem, and represented a major blow to then manager Martin O'Neill with the club fighting for Barclays Premier League survival.
O'Neill revealed at the time that he was hopeful Fletcher would not need surgery, but admitted it was a possibility if the ankle did not settle down with treatment and rest.
The Ulsterman was replaced by Paolo Di Canio on March 31 with the newcomer well aware he would be without the man most likely to fire the Black Cats out of trouble.
In the circumstances, he challenged the rest of his players to come up with the goals to keep them in the top flight, and received the perfect response on Sunday when Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan struck to secure a famous 3-0 derby victory at Newcastle.
However, Sunderland remain only three points clear of the relegation zone with five games to play despite Wigan's 1-0 defeat at Manchester City last night, and the Latics still have a game in hand on their fellow relegation contenders.
The Black Cats entertain high-flying Everton at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, when anything other than three points could dissipate the euphoria of their heroics on Tyneside.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile