Adam Matthews is feeling the benefits of a fitness-fuelled pre-season, admitting it will be vital when the fixtures start coming thick and fast.
The 25-year-old, who spent last term on loan at Bristol City, has been taken under Simon Grayson’s wing as he continues to mould his squad for the 2017-18 Sky Bet Championship team.
Matthews has been a prominent feature in the Lads’ six pre-season friendlies so far, clocking a further 10 minutes in yesterday’s 3-2 win at Bradford City.
And now the Welsh international is targeting a strong season on Wearside following a positive injury-free pre-season campaign.
The full-back has also aired his commitment to the cause at the Stadium of Light and is relishing working under Grayson’s stewardship.
“I have been a part in all of them (the games),” he said.
“I played 90 minutes against St Johnstone and 70 against Hartlepool so that was good, and then to play 10 minutes (at Bradford) hopefully I get a chance on Wednesday to play some more minutes.
“(Fitness helps with) Just for the sheer volume of games you face. You play Saturday and then Tuesday a lot of the time and sometimes you play Saturday and Monday.
“The volume of games is important to handle, you have got to have a big squad and you have got to use all of it.
“It is tough and if you aren’t prepared right for it, it could come back to bit us. We can’t let that happen, though.
“(Pre-season) has been tough, we went to Austria and did three sessions a day over there so that was hard,” he continued.
“We needed a hard pre-season to get fit for the Championship because there are a lot of games, two games a week so you have got to be fit.
“Pre-season has gone well and everyone is looking fit.
“(Grayson) has given everyone a chance. He has given a few youngsters a chance so it has been brilliant and it has been good for me.
“I’m thankful to him for giving me a chance and hopefully he sees something in me to give me a chance.
“I’m looking forward to working with him, training has gone well and hopefully I can be in his plans.
“I am 100% committed to Sunderland and hopefully I can get in the team.”