Belfast Telegraph

Pantilimon prepared for battle

Sunderland new boy Costel Pantilimon is gearing up for a month-long battle with Vito Mannone for a place in Gus Poyet's Barclays Premier League team.

The 27-year-old Romanian left Manchester City for the Stadium of Light last month in the search for regular first-team football.

However, in order to achieve that this season, he will have to oust Italian Mannone, the Black Cats' Player of the Year for last season, and that is a battle be believes will be fought out during the remainder of pre-season.

Pantilimon told the Sunderland Echo: "At this moment, I think everyone is fighting for their position. There's a long period until we start the Premier League.

"It's normal for everyone to work hard, train hard and after that, we'll see what happens. I think everyone wants to be in the first XI. We'll see.

"Vito is a good guy and a good keeper. I know that. But whatever happens, it's important that it helps the team.

"It's not just competition for us, it's everyone in the team. At this moment, no-one is in the starting XI."

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