Danny Welbeck is determined to make up for lost time as he plots a return to the Sunderland starting line-up.
The 20-year-old ended a two-month absence through injury when he was introduced as a substitute in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal last time out, and with Liverpool arriving on Wearside on Sunday before a trip to Manchester City in a fortnight's time, he is desperate to get back into the swing of things.
"I have missed quite a few games, so I was obviously a bit down-hearted at that, but I took it as a positive," said Welbeck. "I am just looking forward to playing as many minutes as possible from now until the end of the season, and then we will see what happens from there."
He added: "I have missed a lot of games over these past two months, so just to get back fit and get as many games under my belt as possible before the end of the season, that's my main aim."
Welbeck's contribution at Arsenal gave him a tantalising taste of football during a month which, because of the FA Cup and the forthcoming international break, will see his side play just twice. He will head off on international duty with England Under-21s after the Liverpool game.
"Just to get back into it at Arsenal and then to miss another week, it was like being injured again," Welbeck said. "But that's football and you know not everything is going to go your way. Obviously at the start, I felt a bit stiff, but I am gradually getting towards full fitness and I am just looking forward to playing on Sunday, hopefully."
Welbeck's misfortune has hit Sunderland particularly hard because of Darren Bent's £24million departure for Aston Villa, and that has left record signing Asamoah Gyan to play up front largely by himself.
The striker has played both in attack and wide in a midfield five during his loan spell from Manchester United, and he is taking nothing for granted this weekend.
Welbeck said: "The players who have come in have done really well, so you can't say they have been missing me. We have been a bit unlucky with a few results - we have been going ahead in games and then throwing away points at the end.
"Just to get a few players back from injury is always a massive boost. But we will see what happens."
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