Paddy McNair says he is over his injury woe and ready to help Sunderland’s fight against relegation.
McNair had missed seven matches with a groin injury after making his comeback from a long-term anterior cruciate ligament problem earlier in the season.
His comeback and encouraging performance was one of the few positives on another disappointing night for the Black Cats in Bolton and the Northern Irishman says he will be ready to face Middlesbrough at the weekend.
He said: “My knee feels great and I didn’t have any problems with it.
“I played 90 minutes at Bolton, but my full match-fitness is still not quite there yet.
“The more I play, I will get that and hopefully I can help the team until the end of the season.
“There was nothing said before the game about how many minutes I would play. I felt good.
“After 70 minutes, I started feeling my calves, but that’s only normal after being out for so long.
“I feel good and I’m just looking forward. I’m 100% confident I’ll be ready to start again if the manager wants me.”
McNair, like manager Chris Coleman, was left seething with the officials for failing to spot Zach Clough’s handball as he scored the winning goal at the Marcon Stadium.
But he took belief from the team’s display and said they will have to make their own luck between now and the end of the season.
“You have to believe. The 11 players on the pitch have to believe we’re going to win the game,” he said.
“It’s very frustrating not getting three points but if there’s any positive to take from it, it’s that we did play well and when you look at the goal, it’s a handball. It’s a handball.
“We would have loved to score a goal, but it wasn’t to be. I think putting in good performances is the main thing and you make your own luck.
“If we can play well and get the ball into the final third in other games as much as we did at Bolton, I think it will drop in the net for us.
“We just need that goal from somewhere. At the minute, we just need that first three points.
“It’s frustrating, but we do believe it will turn.”