Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio cannot wait for the return to fitness of star striker Steven Fletcher ahead of the opening day of the new season.
Last summer's £12million summer signing from Wolverhampton Wanderers has not played since the end of March after suffering an ankle injury on duty for Scotland which required surgery.
In Fletcher's absence, Sunderland narrowly avoided relegation last season but the striker is on course to be ready for their first game of the new campaign against Fulham.
And Di Canio, who only succeeded Martin O'Neill in late March after Fletcher's injury, said in The Sun: "Steven was a big miss for us.
"It was frustrating not to be able to call on him when I took over and it will boost us to have him back."