Young midfielder hopes to kick on in 2013-14.Sunderland youngster Billy Knott says he has never prepared better for a campaign as he looks to push himself into head coach Paolo Di Canio’s plans.
Knott has turned out multiple first-class performances during the pre-season period, notching two goals in the process, as he looks to continue impressing at the Academy of Light.
And Knott says his preparations have helped his game no-end ahead of Monday’s Barclays U21 Premier League opener with Bolton Wanderers.
“It’s been a good pre-season for me,” Knott said. “Obviously I have to knuckle down as I’m going into my last year and last pre- season I didn’t give myself the best chance but this pre-season I feel like I have.
“Obviously all the coaches have been on to me to get at it and do my best and do my best in training to push on.
“I’ve got to keep pushing myself and I think the team as well, if we get results then we will hopefully get noticed and get a sniff round the first team.”
Knott spent last year on loan at Woking and impressed with ten goals in 22 games for the Conference Premier side.
And the 20-year-old says his time with the Cardinals has furthered his experience and development – something he hopes he can pass on to the younger players in Kevin Ball’s group.
“It was good last year getting out on loan; I think the first loan spell where I didn’t get injured benefitted me much more than when I went out with a knock and I felt a bit lacklustre,” Knott explained.
“It was really good to get out and play men’s football and to come back here and be one of the older lads among the group and hopefully drive everyone on – we’ve got a good team this year.
“Obviously if the first team are doing well then that chance might not be afforded to you but you’ve got to be ready to take your chance if it comes.”
And, whilst Knott is waiting in the wings for a crack at the first-team, he hopes he can drive the under-21’s to success in their league.
“We’re looking really good this season, obviously some of the younger lads have come up and they can pass the ball and their interplay is fantastic.
“If we have that bit of bite about us then we’ll do really well this season.”