BLAIR Adams hopes he has given Martin O’Neill food for thought by offering a specialist option at left-back.
South Shields-born academy product Adams made his first Sunderland start in last night’s 1-1 draw at Derby County before being replaced at the interval.
O’Neill is understood to be in the market for a new left-back this month after midfielders Jack Colback and Kieran Richardson, right-back Phil Bardsley and centre-half John O’Shea were all shoehorned into that role last season.
But after a season on loan at League Two Northampton Town, Adams is eager to come under consideration too following a pre-season campaign working alongside the first-team squad.
Adams told the Echo: “I’m delighted to get my first start. I’m keeping my head down and working hard and hopefully I can impress the gaffer.
“There’s no specialist left-back, but there’s a few good players who can play there. I’d like to be one of those who’s in his mind to play there this season.
“I developed huge amounts at Northampton last season. Just playing games makes a massive difference. I’m a lot more confident in myself now.”
Adams appeared in Sunderland’s first Peace Cup encounter in South Korea, against Seongnam, before sustaining a hamstring strain which had left him out of contention until last night.
“I got a little taste of it at the beginning of last season in pre-season and again in Korea,” said the 20-year-old. “I had a little niggle in my hamstring out in Korea. It was terrible timing really because I was looking to play a bit more over there.
“It was a bit unfortunate, but I’m feeling good now. I got a couple of games for the reserves, played last night and hopefully I can play again at Leicester on Saturday.”
Sunderland’s Peace Cup success against FC Groningen remains their only pre-season victory after substitute Nathan Tyson cancelled out James McClean’s opener at Pride Park last night.
“It was disappointing to concede in the last minute because I thought we played some good stuff,” added Adams.
“But we just need to make sure we play as hard as we can on Saturday and make sure we get a result to be ready for Arsenal.”