LIAM Bridcutt hopes he has given Gus Poyet a genuine dilemma over the selection battle with Lee Cattermole.
Bridcutt made only his second Premier League start of the campaign in Saturday’s goalless draw at Liverpool after Poyet opted to hand Lee Cattermole a breather.
The £2.5million January signing has only been fleetingly used since the difficult birth of his son last April forced him out of the side, with Cattermole taking that opportunity to establish his place as one of the integral cogs in Poyet’s blueprint.
Head coach Poyet is unsure whether Cattermole and Bridcutt can be squeezed into the same line-up, albeit he used the pair together for the final 20 minutes at Anfield.
But after thriving against Merseyside pair Everton and Liverpool over the last month and demonstrating his credentials as a Premier League midfielder, Bridcutt is eager to remain in the starting XI.
Bridcutt said: “When I came in (in January) I thought I did well.
“The only reason I came out of the team was a personal issue and obviously with the team doing so well when I was out, it was just one of those things.
“But I don’t think it was down to not fitting in or anything.
“From the first day I came in, the boys made me feel welcome and the style that the manager wants to play, is the style I like.
“Obviously the manager knows I’m raring to go.
“I’ve been training well and when I’ve played recently, I’ve done well.
“At the end of the day, it’s his choice.
“Lee has had a tough run of games over the last few weeks, so it was good to get an opportunity to show what I can do.
“The last two games I’ve played against Everton and Liverpool, I’ve had two really good performances.
“The manager has seen that and he knows that I’m ready to go.”
There were mixed feelings in the Sunderland dressing room after a fifth goalless draw of the campaign saw the Black Cats continue their pattern of finishing all-square.
While a point immediately restored confidence from last week’s 4-1 defeat to title-chasing Manchester City, there was a sense of frustration that Sunderland had failed to register a first Anfield win in 31 years after Poyet’s men were in the ascendancy until the second half introduction of Steven Gerrard.
“It was a good point for us, although we had great chances to win the game,” added Bridcutt.
“We’re disappointed about that, but most teams would be happy with a point at Anfield.
“It should give us some good confidence going into the Christmas period.
“Before the game, we were saying this was probably the best time to play Liverpool.
“They’re under a bit of pressure with their results and it was a great chance to come and get three points.
“But it wasn’t our day. We just couldn’t finish.
“Everybody has to be happy with our performance though and it has to give us a boost going into that Christmas period.”