DAVID VAUGHAN will not let frustration get the better of him in his bid to become a Sunderland midfield regular again.
Vaughan started the first 10 matches of Martin O’Neill’s reign as Sunderland boss before injury struck last January – a pattern which has continued for the Welsh international.
The 29-year-old was forced to go under the knife in the summer for a hernia-type injury, which ruled him out of pre-season and has restricted him to a substitute’s role in the Premier League since returning for the Black Cats at West Ham last month.
With skipper Lee Cattermole returning from suspension and right-back Phil Bardsley back to fitness – allowing Craig Gardner to resume midfield duties – Vaughan’s patience will potentially be tested even further.
But the softly-spoken former Blackpool man is ready to play the waiting game, rather than putting any demands on O’Neill.
Vaughan said: “Lee and Phil coming back makes places up for grabs now.
“I’m looking to play, but you’ve got to be realistic and wait for a chance.
“I haven’t said anything to the manager and I don’t think I will either to be honest!
“I’ve obviously been frustrated with pre-season and missing all of that with injury.
“I’ve just had to be patient and bide my time to get back in the team really. It’s the manager’s choice who plays and I’ve got to wait for my chance.
“The players that the manager has brought in and the squad we’ve got now, means there’s players on the bench who would expect to be playing and want to be playing.
“It’s extra pressure on the starting eleven. It’s good competition, but it can be frustrating too.”
Vaughan undoubtedly made a difference in his brief cameo from the bench in the Wear-Tyne derby last weekend.
And although Vaughan was unable to help secure only a second derby success on Wearside in 32 years, the midfielder was happy to have made his bow against the Magpies in red and white.
Vaughan was left on the bench in both outings against Newcastle last season, yet saw Sunderland spare their blushes with an equaliser during his 10 minute substitute outing on Sunday.
“I was an unused sub in both games last season so it was a nice to get on,” he added.
“It was a good atmosphere. The away fans moving to a different area has definitely helped.
“The performance on Sunday wasn’t great, but we didn’t lose the game which is the most important thing.
“Had we played really well and lost, the doom and gloom would have been even worse.”