Matt Kilgallon insists he is fully fit after suffering an injury scare just days before reporting back to Sunderland for pre-season training.
The centre-half was forced to miss the club's trip to South Korea after straining his calf muscle while trying to keep fit and feared he would miss the start of season.
But after making it through his first pre-season game in the Black Cats' defeat to Hartlepool, Kilgallon admits he is ready for the opening game away to Arsenal.
"I'd been trying to just keep fit in the summer and on the Sunday night before we came back on the Wednesday, I was doing a bit of fitness and I pulled my calf," Kilgallon told the Sunderland Echo.
"I thought it would be all right, but I went in Wednesday and trained and it got worse and worse. I just couldn't carry on.
"I was gutted to miss the trip to Korea. I wanted to keep my face in there after getting in at the end of last season.
"But I'm fit now and the gaffer has given me a game and I'm glad he did.
"You can do all the running you want to maintain your fitness, but the games are the main thing where you get your sharpness and positioning.
"I've missed a bit of pre-season with my calf and I only trained a few times last week before the gaffer threw me in there. But I'm glad he did, it was good to get the legs going again."