CRAIG Gardner’s homesick blues might just be easing with every successful minute played in Sunderland colours.
The Brummie’s move to Wearside last summer did not work out well in the first half of the season – struggling to get games under a manager not wholly convinced the midfielder could hack it.
No wonder the 25-year-old longed for home pastures where he felt wanted and his name was first on the team sheet.
He has flourished under O’Neill, though, been more involved in matches and on Saturday, scored his second memorable goal in the space of four games.
It was a fabulous finish and a fitting finale to a game which showed Sunderland’s resilience and spirit against a side which had arrived at the Stadium of Light fresh from three successive victories.
Read Graeme Anderson’s full match report, plus photos and reaction, in today’s Sportmail.