O'Neill's faith in Campbell pays dividends for Black Cats
Sunderland 3 Norwich 0
Published 02/02/2012 | 05:00
There is a reason Martin O'Neill is not upset by Sunderland's inability to sign a striker in the January window -- and his name is Fraizer Campbell.
Sunderland's No 9 has missed more than a season and a half during his recovery from two serious knee injuries and his return to fitness has added an extra dimension to the team's play as well as goals.
Campbell scored his second in as many games since returning to first-team football as Sunderland -- in a relegation battle when O'Neill took over at the start of December -- cruised to a victory over Norwich that lifts them up to eighth place.
Controlling the ball with his instep on the edge of the area, Campbell set himself and connected perfectly with a volley that looped over goalkeeper James Ruddy into the top corner.
Having scored as a second-half sub against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last weekend, this was Campbell's first start since August 2010 and how Sunderland, who lost Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan in 2011, have missed him.
His first-time cross then found Stephane Sessegnon, who guided a header in. The Benin international started as well as finished the move, putting the ball through the legs of Bradley Johnson before threading a delightful ball with the outside of his foot for Campbell to run on to as he galloped into the area to meet the cross.
The third came when Phil Bardsley's cross was diverted into his own net by Daniel Ayala with Campbell lurking behind him. (© Daily Telegraph, London)