Lee Cattermole reflects on his and Sunderland's season so far ahead of first team return
Lee Cattermole is itching to get back in action after serving his two-game suspension.
The 30-year-old missed vital games against Charlton Athletic and Luton Town but is available again for the trip to Scunthorpe United next weekend.
"I had an injury where I couldn't do too much and then had five or six games back, missing one [Charlton] wouldn't have been the end of the world but it was tough for me to watch the Luton game," he told the Wise Men Say podcast.
"But we played well in the game and it's another point towards the total we need."
Jack Ross spoke earlier in the season of his frustration with many of the bookings handed out to Cattermole and it is a sentiment shared by the midfielder.
"I don't make many tackles," he said.
"If you look at the number of cards I get compared to the amount of tackles I make...
"It's something that has been there from a young age, you get a reputation.
"You go away to a ground where there's 7, 8,000 fans and suddenly I make a tackle, it's a big thing.
"It's something I'm aware of."
In Cattermole's absence Sunderland picked up two points against their promotion rivals, leaving them in third place but within striking distance of the top two.
The influential midfielder hailed Jack Ross for his work in getting the Black Cats into this positions but insists that the squad must keep their feet on the ground.
"The gaffer has been different class.
"He came in, and I know it looks now like it might have been an easier job than it has been.
"It's been a really difficult job.
"He came in, we didn't have much of a squad and a lot of young players.
"He's managed to pick good players who know the league.
"If you look right through the middle of the team, we're strong.
"But we have to keep our feet on the ground," he added.
"It's a tough league. We've seen that with the likes of the Charlton and Portsmouth games, Luton as well.
"I can't remember many easy games we've had.
"We've got to keep working hard and hopefully get to where we want to at the end of the season.
"We believe we can do that.
"I'm really enjoying it, I respect the league" he added.
"There's a lot of really good players in this division.
"What I've gained over the years, playing in the Premier League, dealing with that pressure, mentally I feel strong so I feel I can still have an edge.
Cattermole spoke in depth on his decision to stay with the Black Cats earlier in the season, citing Ross as a major influence and his desire to put Sunderland back where it belongs.
In his tenth season with the club, Cattermole is thrilled that the club is in a position to do exactly that.
"It has felt fresh this year, and I needed that," he said.
"The club means a lot to me.
"I'd have been really gutted if I had to leave in the summer," he added.
"People have seen what I've given to the club.
"I played for three or four years with my hip which was bad, seeing Andy Murray this week reminded me of some of the hard times I had.
"I've given a lot to the club so it was important to me to try and put things right."
You can listen to the full interview here.