Sunderland's Whitehead thrilled with comeback

Sunderland captain Dean Whitehead was delighted with his playing return in yesterday's testimonial at Falkirk.

Whitehead was thrilled to put his cruciate ligament hell behind him last night, getting an hour's competitive play in Andy Lawrie's testimonial game in Falkirk before he was withdrawn as a precaution.

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The midfielder told the Sunderland Echo: "It was great to be back. The cold wasn't really a factor - not once you've warmed up before the game. It was just nice to be back out there playing again.

"There hasn't been any reaction so far in the knee but I didn't really expect there to be any. The knee is fine at the moment and it feels good, I just need to work on my fitness now."

Whitehead could have continued but Keane was always going to be cautious with him.

The midfielder said: "The plan was always for me to play an hour, even if I felt like I could go on for longer. It was the right decision because when you get a little bit tired there is always the chance that you can miss-time challenges and that certainly wouldn't have helped my recovery.

"I've been looking forward to making my comeback for a little while now and it's just good to have come through it OK. Maybe I will be involved in another game next week, we'll just have to see."

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