Defender hoping hip problem's behind him.
Titus Bramble is hoping for an injury-free run in the side after returning from a “niggly” hip injury.
The defender spent a few weeks on the sidelines with the problem but returned to the bench at Everton last weekend.
Bramble had spent time in the side before the injury struck and felt he was playing well, which added to his sense of frustration during his time out.
“It’s never nice being injured and watching the lads from the sidelines,” Bramble said. “Now that I’m back involved it’s quite pleasing.
“I had a small tear in my hip flexor. It wasn’t anything major, but it was niggly and enough to stop me playing games which was very frustrating.
“As a player you want a run of games in the team. I was in the side and doing all right but then to come out with an injury was not nice.”
Bramble, who joined Sunderland in summer 2010, has made 36 appearances for the club and will be hoping to reach the half-century mark before the end of the season.
He now faces the challenge of dislodging the current first-choice central defensive partnership of Carlos Cuellar and John O'Shea, which he admits won't be an easy task.
However, Bramble is content to wait for his opportunity and knows he will have to maximise any openings afforded to him.
“When you play a game you have to make sure you take your chance,” he said. “That's all I can do.
“In any position you know there’s not going to be a whole season where a player’s not going to pick up an injury or have a loss of form.
“You just have to make sure that when you do get called upon, you’re ready.”