John Egan has said that he is eager to return to the football pitch as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a broken leg.
The Sunderland defender sustained the injury while on loan with League Two side Bradford City in November.
The 20-year-old the club's official website: "The whole club has been fantastic. It was tough having a setback like this but I'll come out of it the other side stronger.
"I'm watching a lot more football now than I used to, and maybe I did take things for granted a bit when I was playing every week. I'm so eager to get back now. I won't take a day for granted again in my career.
"After the injury you feel like you're back at zero but you've got to build up and get back to where you were. I'll obviously be more eager than last year to impress people at the club, that's what I have to strive for."
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international signed a one-year contract extension with the Black Cats last week.