Gardner impressed by Poyet and backs Bardsley to make Sunderland return

Craig Gardner is hoping teammate Phil Bardsley will get his Sunderland career going again under new manager Gus Poyet, Sky Sports has reported.

Bardsley fell out of favour with former boss Paolo Di Canio after the 28-year-old was seen in a casino in May. The defender went on to mock his side via a social media site after they lost to Fulham on the opening day of this season.

Gardner is hoping that the new boss will give the former Manchester United man a fresh start, and says the team are looking forward to getting him back.

The ex-Aston Villa man said: “Bardo’s a class player and, while it is the manager’s decision, I think he deserves a second chance. He’s a good player and it was only a couple of years ago that he was our player of the year. Hopefully Phil will get that chance again because there is no doubt about his ability.

Poyet takes charge of the team for the first time this weekend when they face Swansea City after the club sacked Di Canio just seven games into the season. The former Brighton manager has already made an impression on Gardner.

He said: “The new manager has been brilliant. He has spoken to the lads – or at least all the lads that have been here during the international break – and he wants us to play in our natural positions where possible.

I’ve played some games at right-back and Jack [Colback] has played at left-back, but we both prefer playing in central midfield and hopefully we’ll get a chance to do that.

The Black Cats are currently bottom of the Premier League and are yet to record their first win of the season, picking up just one point from a possible 21.

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