MATT Kilgallon wants Sunderland to end their campaign on a high with a spot of giant-killing this weekend.
Current Premier League champions Manchester United come to the Stadium of Light this Sunday planning to hold on to their title by beating the Black Cats while hoping league leaders Man City slip up against QPR.
But Kilgallon (left) points out Sunderland have been cast as lambs to the slaughter before, only to upset the odds.
And he says the 1-0 win over City at the turn of the year was a perfect example of what can be achieved by a truly focused display. “We did well in that game on New Year’s Day,” he remembered.
“We got three points so why can’t we do that again? It seems to suit us when teams are on top of us that we can counter.”
The 28-year-old is looking forward to a game which will have a global audience of hundreds of millions as the title race goes all the way down to the wire.
“Sunday will be huge,” he grinned. “It will be on TV and the fact it has gone to the last day makes it more exciting. But we want to finish as high as we can and if we can get the three points then we could still finish 10th.
“We want to finish in the top 10 – and when you think of where we were a few months ago, it’s fantastic to think it is still on.”
Whatever happens this weekend, Kilgallon knows he can look back on a successful season personally, having gone from outcast under Steve Bruce to first-team regular under Martin O’Neill.
And reflecting on the summer ahead he said: “This one will be different for me. I might actually have a few beers this year while I’m on holiday instead of drowning my sorrows.
“I’m going into this summer in a different frame of mind. It’s quite nice. It’s the first one where I am not thinking about a play-off final loss, a bad season through injury or not playing.
“I’m actually doing well and looking forward to next season. I will go away and try to keep myself fit and go from there. I am in a much better place than I was before the manager came in.
“I just want to do as well for the gaffer as I can because he has put faith in me. I want to give him it back.”
While the likeable Kilgallon’s renaissance has been heart-warming, he says no-one should forget that Sunderland too have risen from the depths over the last few months, even if the season has tailed off for weeks.
“The season has gone well,” he said. “We reached safety a long time ago. I think it is easy to forget the sort of position we were in and where we could have been. We pushed on and I think it is a good sign that we are disappointed at where we finish, even when the season is over. We just have to keep going and it is a big game against Manchester United next week.
“We have drawn a lot of games in our poor run and only had a few defeats. I think we have been unlucky, we have missed a few chances, but it will come.”