Gardner - I want to play
Former Birmingham midfielder relishes the competition at new club
Last Updated: August 4, 2011 7:49pm
Gardner: Vying to be part of Steve Bruce's new look line up this season at Sunderland
Craig Gardner has challenged his new Sunderland team-mates by insisting he is targeting a first-team place.
Gardner is one of nine players signed by Steve Bruce this summer as he looks to improve on their 10th place finish year.
And, having been a regular at former club Birmingham, the midfielder is determined not to be a fringe player at the Stadium of Light.
"Everyone wants to push on. Everyone wants to play, no-one wants to be left on the bench - especially me."
Craig Gardner Quotes of the week
"There's massive competition here now," he told the club's official website.
"Everyone wants to push on. Everyone wants to play, no-one wants to be left on the bench - especially me.
"It's a big season for everyone."
Indeed, Gardner did his chances of cementing his place in the starting XI no harm as he scored in the 3-0 pre-season win over Darlington.
The game allowed the midfielder an opportunity to adjust to the new style of play adopted by Sunderland, and there were promising indicators he is adjusting quickly.
He added: "It's a different style of play to Birmingham but I feel like I'm finding my feet now."