MATT KILGALLON is eager to make up for lost time after seeing his pre-season campaign delayed by injury.
Kilgallon made his first appearance of pre-season at Hartlepool United on Friday night after missing Sunderland’s pre-season trip to Korea with a calf strain.
The centre-half sustained the problem just three days before Sunderland reported back to work earlier this month as he adhered to the training problem designed to keep the Black Cats’ players in shape during the summer.
But after a fortnight on the treatment table, Kilgallon insists he is now fully fit and is keen to get as many minutes of friendly action under his belt as possible to ensure he is ready for the start of the Premier League campaign.
Kilgallon told the Echo: “You can do all the running you want to maintain your fitness, but the games are the main thing where you get your sharpness and positioning.
“I felt all right on Friday night.
“I’ve missed a bit of pre-season with my calf and I only trained a few times last week before the gaffer threw me in there.
“But I’m glad he did, it was good to get the legs going again.
“I’d been trying to just keep fit in the summer and on the Sunday night before we came back on the Wednesday, I was doing a bit of fitness and I pulled my calf.
“I thought it would be all right, but I went in Wednesday and trained and it got worse and worse. I just couldn’t carry on.
“I was gutted to miss the trip to Korea. I wanted to keep my face in there after getting in at the end of last season.
“But I’m fit now and the gaffer has given me a game and I’m glad he did.”
Kilgallon played almost 80 minutes at Hartlepool as Sunderland slumped to a second defeat in three friendly outings.
Martin O’Neill was not happy with Sunderland’s performance in the 1-0 loss and will hope for better when the Wearsiders face reigning Swedish champions Helsingborgs IF, in Scandinavia, on Saturday.
“The gaffer wasn’t happy with us at half-time at Hartlepool and rightly so,” added Kilgallon.
“We came out for the second half, but we just couldn’t quite get a goal.”