Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bramble's Battle for Black Cats Spot; Bramble Ready to Battle for Black Cats Place

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bramble's Battle for Black Cats Spot; Bramble Ready to Battle for Black Cats Place

Article excerpt

TITUS Bramble is ready to prove his many doubters wrong by winning back a first-team place at Sunderland and therefore securing his long-term future at the club, writes NEIL CAMERON.

The vastly experienced central defender (left) only has one year left on his current deal at the Stadium of Light, with many believing this would be his final season on Wearside - and only then if he wasn't sold this summer.

Sunderland are top heavy with centre-halves, even with Michael Turner leaving for Norwich City, and the 31-year-old Bramble would be widely viewed by most supporters as a back-up player for manager Martin O'Neill. The former Newcastle player has suffered terribly with injury since being signed by Steve Bruce two years ago - he made only eight appearances last season.

However, Bramble is not ready to throw in the towel just yet and is determined to be a big player for Sunderland once again.

He said: "If I'm playing regularly then I don't see why I can't stay beyond this 12 months. I don't want to go anywhere. I am very happy here. "It's just a case of playing and seeing what happens. "I'm not young any more. It's a case of when you get to my age that you stay fit and play as many games as you can. "You do get little injuries through wear and tear with age. I tore my Achilles against Everton on Boxing Day. It was a frustrating period. "And in the first season here at Sunderland, I had to have a knee operation. That came at a bad time. Last season I got back into the team under the new manager and I got an injury again. "The manager wants me to stay fit. He likes me as a player and he wants me to just stay fit and help the team." Even a fighting fit Bramble has a battle to get into O'Neill's starting XI for the August 18 Premier League opening match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. …

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