CRAIG Gardner hopes he to keep his place in the starting 11 tomorrow so he can play his part in the Sunderland revival.
The central midfielder – a £5m signing from Birmingham in the close season – is convinced it’s only a matter of time before the Black Cats hit their stride this season.
And having made his first start of the season in last week’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, the 24-year-old hopes to keep his place for what he hopes will be a rousing day for Sunderland fans tomorrow.
“I waited for my chance and I got one last week against Chelsea so I’m hoping I’ve done enough to stay in the side.
“It was a difficult game against them but we weren’t too bad in the opening and closing stages of the match – we managed to get a goal back late on and, who knows, if we’d got it half-an-hour earlier it might have give us the chance of getting something out of it.
“We have to remind ourselves though that we don’t face teams of the calibre of Chelsea every week.
“We’ve had a tough start with Liverpool away and Chelsea at home and the derby in our first four games but we’ve got to dig in and get through it – footballers do that all the time.”
SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story