Bramble keen to reignite career
Sunderland defender Titus Bramble has headed for South Korea ready to fight for his place.
The 30-year-old was among the 23-man party which left Wearside for the Peace Cup tournament as he looked to rekindle his Black Cats career. Bramble made only eight appearances last season and just five of them under new manager Martin O'Neill, as injuries and off-field issues took their toll.
He told the club's official website www.safc.com: "Of course I have to impress the manager because he hasn't seen much of what I can do. It's a case of having a good pre-season, hopefully staying injury-free and playing a few games, then taking it from there."
The former Ipswich, Newcastle and Wigan defender, who was cleared of two charges of sexual assault in May, is desperate to get his career back on track by persuading O'Neill he has a role to play during the 2012-13 campaign.
He continued: "The manager has been fantastic since he has been here. It's always frustrating to be injured when a new manager comes in, but hopefully when this season comes, I can stake my claim."
Bramble did return to action in the final game of last season, the 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United which formed part of a dramatic conclusion to the campaign, although he wished it could have gone on a little longer.
He said: "When I came back at the end of last season and played that one game, I didn't want the season to end. It was so good to be back and I felt great. It's just a shame the summer came along when it did.
"It was great to get a game, but I wish I could have had two or three more."
The group which left for the Far East on Monday included summer signing Carlos Cuellar, but not Keiren Westwood, John O'Shea, Sebastian Larsson, James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon or Ahmed Elmohamady, who have been given extra time off following international call-ups at the end of the season. Ji Dong-won is missing the trip home because the Olympic football tournament.
There was no place either for Phil Bardsley or Matt Kilgallon as they recover from injury.