Bramble out to impress
Defender desperate to get Sunderland career back on track
Last Updated: July 16, 2012 11:13am
Titus Bramble: Eager to reignite Sunderland career as he heads off on pre-season tour
Titus Bramble is determined to show Martin O'Neill what he can do during pre-season and stake a claim for a regular starting place.
Bramble is part of a 23-man group heading out for the Peace Cup in South Korea on Monday and he knows it is just the first step as he bids to reignite his Black Cats career.
Bramble made only eight appearances last season and just five of them under new manager O'Neill, as injuries and off-field issues took their toll.
The former Ipswich, Newcastle and Wigan defender, who was cleared of two charges of sexual assault in May, is now desperate to shine.
He told the club's official website: "Of course I have to impress the manager because he hasn't seen much of what I can do.
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"It's a case of having a good pre-season, hopefully staying injury-free and playing a few games, then taking it from there.
"The manager has been fantastic since he has been here. It's always frustrating to be injured when a new manager comes in, but hopefully when this season comes, I can stake my claim."
Bramble did return to action in the final game of last season, the 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United which formed part of a dramatic conclusion to the campaign, although he wished it could have gone on a little longer.
He said: "When I came back at the end of last season and played that one game, I didn't want the season to end.
"It was so good to be back and I felt great. It's just a shame the summer came along when it did.
"It was great to get a game, but I wish I could have had two or three more."
The group which left for the Far East included summer signing Carlos Cuellar, but not Keiren Westwood, John O'Shea, Sebastian Larsson, James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon or Ahmed Elmohamady, who have been given extra time off following international call-ups at the end of the season, while Ji Dong-won is missing the trip home because of the Olympic football tournament.
There was no place either for Phil Bardsley or Matt Kilgallon as they recover from injury.
The Black Cats face K-League side Seongnam on Thursday before lining up against either German outfit Hamburg or Dutch Eredivisie side FC Groningen on Sunday.