It would be a massive cliche to say so, but I'm going to do it anyway; Fraizer Campbell's return will "Be like a new signing."
The 23 year old striker has handed Steve Bruce a massive lift as we look to push on for a Europa League place, and could be back in action as soon as Liverpool at home on March 20th.
With Danny Welbeck's impressive return taking the spotlight in the past week or so, Campbell's return has been somewhat subdued, but a 30 minute run out yesterday against West Ham United's reserves has boosted the former England U21's chances of a first team return having sat out the majority of the season.
Campbell was a little rusty against the Hammers, not showing his usual sharpness when he delayed a shot, having been played in by Jack Colback, with Campbell himself admitting as much "I had a good chance but I waited too long; I should have taken the chance earlier but these things happen." (Source: Northern Echo)
The manager spoke back in August following Campbell's injury saying "Make no mistake he’ll be back and he’ll be firing again." (Source: The Journal) and as stated above, we could be about to witness that.
Bruce moved this week to highlight the mental issues that Campbell will have to overcome in order to complete his comeback. Having been back in light training for over a month now, Bruce said "You've always got to deal with the mental side of it. You can be a little hesitant at first, but all it takes is a whack, you realise it's ok, and the confidence returns." (Source: Sunderland Echo)
We could well expect to see Fraizer on the bench against Liverpool at the weekend, provided he comes through another reserves outing against Manchester United on March 17th unscathed.
Whilst some speculate that the Liverpool game is too soon, and highlight the tie with Manchester City as a more likely return date for Campbell, it's very difficult to second guess Bruce, who has been hugely impressed with his desire to return to action.
Fraizer has said he's not targeting any particular game for his return. However, Brucey thrust Danny Welbeck straight on the bench against Arsenal, and in a short cameo he nearly scored a superb match winning goal.
Seeing Campbell on the bench against Liverpool will come as no surprise to us if we see him back, in fact I'll be more surprised if he doesn't feature in the match day 18.