• Premier League

Fletcher primed for Sunderland pre-season

ESPN staff
June 18, 2013
Steven Fletcher began the season well for Sunderland © PA Photos

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher is likely to be fit in time for the club's pre-season campaign after visiting a specialist last week.

Fletcher, the club's top scorer last season, had his season cut short after he injured ankle ligaments during Scotland's World Cup Qualifier against Wales in March and required surgery. The former Wolves striker has since been given the all-clear to undertake his planned holiday, according to the Journal, after remaining on Wearside to continue his rehabilitation.

Sunderland will travel to Asia in late July to play the Barclays Asia Trophy, a competition for which Fletcher may be fit to participate. Manager Paolo Di Canio has been eager to get Fletcher back on the pitch, viewing the Scotland striker as a vital component of his new look Sunderland side.

Speaking in May Di Canio told Sky Sports News: "First of all, let him recover because he has had this surgery. Then I hope he is going to enjoy working with me. I am happy to work with him, but I hope he will be happy to work with me because he can improve a lot. In some games, if we don't score a lot of goals, we have to work hard to get a point or a victory to give us the chance to push forward and stay higher in the table.

"For this, under me he can improve his football a lot. He will probably understand more, in my opinion, what it means to play with the team off and on the ball. If you understand that, until today, he has played only not to be relegated. He has to become a footballer for a team that wants to finish and establish the club in the top ten every time. I hope he is going to keep on scoring like he has because he scored 11 goals and he is the top scorer. We have to work together and work so hard for the team's cause, for the club's cause."

Meanwhile the Sunderland Echo are reporting that midfielder David Vaughan is likely to leave Wearside during the summer.

The Wales international joined the club on a free transfer from Blackpool and is moving into the final year of his current contract with the club. The Sunderland Echo understands that the Black Cats would prefer to cash in on the player and are looking for a figure in the region of £1 million.

Unwilling to offer Vaughan fresh terms, the former Real Sociedad midfielder has already been linked with newly-promoted Crystal Palace with the Echo claiming Ian Holloway has already registered interest with Vaughan's representatives.

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