Bramble confident Sunderland can recover from pre-season setbacks and make an impression against Arsenal

The Black Cats won just one of their six pre-season fixtures, but the former Newcastle defender believes a positive result at the weekend will reassure fans for the year ahead
Sunderland defender Titus Bramble is hoping the club can impress against Arsenal in their Premier League opener this weekend to make up for a wretched set of pre-season performances that saw the Black Cats pick up just one win from six games.

Martin O'Neill's side lost against the likes of Seognam, Hartlepool, Helsingborgs and Leicester, only managing to muster up a draw against Derby.

Even more alarmingly for O'Neill will be the fact that his side scored just four goals in those fixtures, which all came in two games, highlighting the need for a proven goalscorer at the club having lost Asamoah Gyan and Nicklas Bendtner during the close season.

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But Bramble is trying to look at the situation in a positive light and feels that Saturday's opening game provides the Black Cats with a chance to prove their doubters wrong with a strong performance at the Emirates.

The 31-year-old defender told BBC Radio Newcastle: "If we go to Arsenal and get a good result, pre-season will be forgotten about.

"The last couple of games we've done well there so hopefully we can go there on Saturday and do well."

Bramble also believes the pre-season programme proved more important in terms of improving fitness levels rather than securing results.

He added: "Results don't matter in pre-season, it's about getting minutes under our belt.

"A lot of the lads have got minutes under the belts, so that's a positive."

Sunderland have a relatively impressive recent record in the red half of north London, and despite losing out to a Robin Van Persie double last season, they had previously picked up two draws in as many games.

Bramble hopes that Arsenal do not field the Black Cats former loan striker Bendtner when the two teams meet on Saturday, as he feels he can make the difference.

"Anytime you involve Nick it's going to be interesting," Bramble said.

"He's got great ability, on his day he's a top, top player so hopefully he'll have one of his off-days.

"We'll worry about our game and that's all we can think about."