Bramble keen to repay O'Neill's faith
The 2011/12 season wasn't a vintage one for Sunderland centre-back Titus Bramble.
Struggling for form and fitness for chunks of the season, the 30 year-old made just eight league starts for the Black Cats last season.
Off the field, the Ipswich-born stopper saw his campaign interrupted by a court case brought against him for sexual assualt - charges of which he later cleared, however manager Martin O'Neill has stood by the experienced defender throughout.
Speaking to The Chronicle, Bramble acknowledged the value of his manager's backing from the off:
"It was a big confidence boost for me that the manager put me straight into the side when he got here, particularly because of the problems I had at that time,' said Bramble.
"I was injured not long after the boss was appointed and that was very frustrating.
"It was a tear and tendonitis in the achilles, a mixture of both, and it took a while to get over. It was just a case of having to be patient.'
Bramble finished the season back in the side at the heart of the Wearsider's defence, partnering new Norwich City defender Michael Turner at the back.
With O'Neill re-shaping the Sunderland squad, Bramble appears to have avoided a cull at centre-half which saw Turner depart as well as Marcos Angeleri, George McCartney, Cristian Riveros and loanees Wayne Bridge, Nicklas Bendtner and Sotiros Kyriagkos.
The former Wigan Athletic and Ipswich Town defender now enters the final 12 months of his contract.