Bardsley fit and raring to go
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley has declared himself fit to start the new season after making a successful return from injury.
Bardsley was forced to miss the final four games of the last campaign after undergoing surgery to repair a cartilage problem in his knee.
But the 23-year-old defender has made good progress over the summer and will step his work in pre-season with a view to challenging for a first- team place when the new season starts on August 16.
"I'm raring to go," Bardsley told the club's official website. "The operation was straightforward really and I've done some running and stuff.
"There's no problem with my knee, I've had my rest and I'm looking forward to training."
Bardsley, who has proved popular with the Sunderland fans, also revealed his high regard for manager Roy Keane who ensured they avoided the drop last season.
"That will only be a start for him," added Bardsley. "The manager wants better things all the time and so do the players.
"He will try to get more out of us and we will push ourselves. I think a fair aim is to finish in the top half and have a good cup run."