Fletcher raring to go

by Stuart Vose

Striker boosted by comeback goal.

Steven Fletcher is hoping to kick on and recapture last season’s goalscoring form after making an impressive return to action last weekend.

Fletcher made his first appearance since sustaining an ankle injury in March, scoring after coming on as a half-time substitute at Crystal Palace.

The Scot netted a fine header to equalise at Selhurst Park last weekend but couldn’t prevent the Black Cats slipping to a 3-1 defeat.

“I’m happy to be back playing because it’s been a long time,” the striker said afterwards.

“To get on the scoresheet was good too but unfortunately the result didn’t go our way which was disappointing.

“That’s 45 minutes in the bank and I needed games. I’m glad I’ve got that half under my belt and I can take that into the international break now.”

Fletcher scored 11 goals in 31 appearances for Sunderland last season before being ruled out for the rest of the campaign.

He worked hard on his rehabilitation over the summer and crowned his comeback with a typical striker’s finish when he powered Jack Colback’s cross past Julian Speroni.

“It was a great cross from Jack,” said Fletcher, who needs eight more goals to bring up the landmark of 50 league strikes in English football.

“I saw the ball go wide so I got my head down, got in the box and managed to get on the end of it.”

Sunderland now have a free weekend owing to the international break, with Fletcher on Wearside rather than with his native Scotland.

And he says such a break provides an ideal opportunity to get more training time under his belt and make strides in terms of fitness ahead of the Arsenal game.

“It’s definitely important; I’d only trained three times with the team [in the build-up to the game],” he explained.

“Now I can get a few more sessions under my belt and hopefully grab some more goals [in the games to come].”