Former Sunderland player Knott regrets not taking his chances

Billy Knott
Billy Knott
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FORMER Sunderland youngster Billy Knott admits he regrets not making more of his opportunities to catch the eye on Wearside.

Knott always showed plenty of potential as a teenager after arriving at Sunderland aged 17, following his release from Chelsea’s academy.

The midfielder was handed a professional contract by the Black Cats and there were high hopes that he would go on to make the grade in the Premier League.

But despite appearing on the bench under Steve Bruce and playing a part in pre-season under Martin O’Neill, his one and only first-team appearance came as a late substitute under Paolo Di Canio, on the final day of the 2012-13 campaign.

After loan spells at Wycombe and Port Vale last season, Knott agreed a deal with Bradford last summer, and will be reunited with his former club in the FA Cup this weekend.

Knott said: “If I’m being honest, I perhaps didn’t quite take my chance when it was given to me at Sunderland by different managers.

“I was happy that I got my senior debut there and I had some great times there.

“I respect Sunderland as a club because I was there a long time and they gave me my first professional contract, but I’m at Bradford now and I want to do the best for us.”

Knott’s move to Valley Parade has paid off, with the 22-year-old making 34 appearances and helping Bradford into the last 16 of the FA Cup.

And Knott insists that the Bantams are eager to continue their cup run against Sunderland on Sunday after producing one of the competition’s biggest ever shocks with their victory at Chelsea in the last round.

“As we said before the Chelsea game, we’re not just in the FA Cup now to make up the numbers,” he added.

“Sunderland are a Premier League team and we will give them all the respect they deserve, but the game is on our patch and we want to give them a good game. It is hard work playing against better players – there’s no doubt about that – but we do have confidence from taking on higher sides in the cups earlier this season.”