Bryan Oviedo has given manager Simon Grayson a major boost by committing himself to Sunderland.
The 27-year-old left-back had cast doubt over his Wearside future in the weeks after David Moyes resigned as Sunderland boss following relegation from the Premier League.
But the defender has revealed he is loving life at Sunderland, hailing the club and the fans for their support.
Oviedo made his first start of the season in the 2-1 Carabao Cup win over Carlisle United and is set to keep his place for Saturday’s Championship clash at Barnsley.
With the transfer window open until August 31, Grayson has stressed the club is vulnerable to bids for key players but Oviedo has committed himself to the cause.
“Yeah, yeah, of course. I am here and working hard every day,” said Oviedo, when asked whether he was settled at Sunderland.
“I’m so happy here and my family’s very happy. I hope to continue here because it’s a great club with a fantastic atmosphere at the games.
“You saw at Carlisle a lot of people coming to support us.
“That’s very important for me and I appreciate it.”
Oviedo’s return from a calf injury picked up on international duty with Costa Rica at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup is a timely boost for Sunderland with Leeds United ruthlessly exposing their defensive frailties in the 2-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light at the weekend.
“I just want to continue to play and to improve every game,” added Oviedo ahead of the trip to Oakwell, which will see Sunderland backed by more than 4,000 fans.
“I feel very well and very confident. I’m working hard every training session.
“I hope to play at weekend and I’ll improve every game.
“Tuesday was a very good game for me to play football again and continue to improve my fitness.”
Oviedo, who joined Sunderland from Everton in January, has fresh competition at left-back with the arrival of Brendan Galloway on a season-long loan from the Toffees. Galloway missed the Carlisle game with a knock but Oviedo would have started anyway - and the Costa Rica defender insists he relishes the competition for places.
“I like the competition,” added Oviedo.
“The most important thing is that whoever plays gives their maximum for the team.
“That is the most important thing because the Championship is a lot of games with a lot of opportunity for everyone to play so the most important thing is for everyone to help the team because we have group goals and it’s important everyone gives their maximum to help the team.
“Everyone needs to be working the same way.
“It’s very important to turn up to every match with a winning mentality.
“We were strong at Carlisle, continued fighting, scored a goal and won the game. That is the most important thing. We need that right now.”