It has been a rocky start for Alex Pritchard at the Stadium of Light, having to slowly rebuild his fitness after a disrupted pre-season with the Black Cats, he told ChronicleLive.
The 28-year-old made his first league start in Saturday’s 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon, playing 72 minutes which is the most he has managed so far this campaign.
The attacking midfielder’s pre-season preparation was compromised when he tested positive for coronavirus meaning his recovery and fitness regime took a significant hit, though one that he remains confident he can overcome.
Pritchard said: “I only had a few training sessions leading up to the first game and I’ve been playing catch-up really. Even on Saturday, I was still getting minutes under my belt and I need to get fitter.
“Where do you get the fitness, because you’ve got games every three days? Training is light because you have to be fresh for the games, so you end up getting minutes in games.
“So it’s going to take me a few weeks, but I have to stay fit, keep on working hard, and things will click. It’s going to be hard but I’ll get there.” he added.
Despite his lack of game time the Black Cats have pressed on to pick up nine points from the opening four outings, sitting in fourth place. The side’s good form will allow Pritchard to catch-up properly and get back up to speed with the heavy lifting still to be done in Lee Johnson’s men’s promotion push.
It has been an unfortunate start to life in Sunderland for Pritchard, however after a difficult last few years in the Football League his determination to put it behind him and kick on in his career is clear to see.
Just over two seasons ago Pritchard made 30 appearances in the Premier League, his quality is not in question especially at third tier level.
Wycombe Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday provide difficult opposition in their next two league outings, hopefully Pritchard can complete a full 90 minutes in the not too distant future. Showcasing his unique skill set and making his claim for a consistent starting place in attacking midfield.