EMANUELE Giaccherini says his return to the fold after more than three months on the sidelines offered a crumb of comfort in yet another post-derby lull for Sunderland.
Gus Poyet had envisaged big things for Giaccherini this season after the Italian international caught the eye of the Black Cats head coach during pre-season.
But so far, it has been a miserable campaign for the 29-year-old, who missed the start of the season with a groin strain and then suffered an ankle injury in September’s goalless draw at Burnley, which kept him on the treatment table until yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to Hull City.
Giaccherini was introduced for the final half-hour against the Tigers and hopes he can now finally get his season up and running by continuing his comeback in tomorrow’s trip to Aston Villa.
“It was very frustrating because I started the season well, playing here and for the national team,” said the ex-Juventus man.
“Now, I’m starting again and I need time because three months is a bad injury.
“I hope I can play the next game and try to build my fitness.
“I’m happy to just be back. I played 30 minutes yesterday and I’m happy for that.
“I’m ready for Sunday now. I don’t know whether I will start in the 11, but I’m ready.”
Sunderland enjoyed a dream start yesterday when Adam Johnson pounced with just 30 seconds on the clock, and confidence-drained Hull looked like they could be on the receiving end of a hiding.
But after Gaston Ramirez benefited from a fortuitous bounce to equalise and referee Andre Marriner failed to penalise two handballs with penalties, Sunderland imploded in the second half.
As was the case last season, Hull emerged triumphant in the game following Sunderland’s victory in the derby - something which Poyet had warned his players about beforehand.
“Before the game, the gaffer said we beat Newcastle and then lost against Hull,” added Giaccherini.
“After 30 seconds, it was 1-0 and we controlled the game in the first half.
“They had one shot and scored.
“But from that, the game changed. The second half, the team was not compact and we lost possession.
“The second half, Hull City were better than us. That’s football and you have to move on.
“But we just have to think about the next game against Aston Villa.
“Aston Villa have got 20 points, we’ve got 19, so we’ve got to try to go for the win.”