Gardner readjusting to midfield

by Kate Smith

‘I score goals and that’s what I’m aiming to do’

Craig Gardner is hoping he’ll be back in the midfield groove against Everton this weekend after reverting to his preferred position.

The likeable Brummie moved back into the middle against former club Aston Villa last week having spent all of the season so far playing at right-back.

He wasn’t pleased with his performance against Villa but is targeting a place back amongst the goals this weekend having popped up with a stunner against MK Dons in the Capital One Cup back in September.

And, having got the Villa game out of the way, Gardner feels like he’s got his bearings once again and is ready to make a midfield spot his own.

“I’ve got to admit it was tough [against Villa] - playing at right back for nine or 10 games on the bounce, I got used to playing there after doing it in training as well,” he explained.

“The game came on Saturday and you’ve got to get your bearings right. I admit I had a quiet game but hopefully on Saturday, if I’m selected, I’ve got that one game out of my system where I’ve got my bearings back and I can really push on and help the team create chances and score goals.”

“It’s just about getting your bearings right, really. If you have 10 weeks off work and you come back, you’d be thinking the same.

“That was the case a little bit, but everyone knows I’m a midfielder. I’ve played there and I score goals and that’s what I aim to do.”

Sunderland met Everton four times last season in league and cup, drawing twice and losing twice.

Goodison Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Black Cats, who haven’t registered a league win there since 1996.

But Gardner is taking no notice of the statistics, preferring to concentrate on the here and now.

“People talk about bogey teams and things like that but you both start with 11 men, it’s 90 minutes and you’ve got to match up,” he said.

“Hopefully Saturday is the big performance that we need to kick-start our season.”

He added: “We’re not a team to fold and roll over. People aren’t going to turn us over every week.

“The changing room is still very confident. We’re going to fight to the death and get the results.”