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The Black Cats are currently in Hong Kong preparing for the new season and the midfielder feels the club can gain an edge over their rivals with the hard work they are undertaking

Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner says the club's pre-season preparations mean the Black Cats could be "two or three steps ahead of everyone else" at the start of the Premier League season.

Paolo Di Canio's side are currently in Hong Kong where they will play Tottenham on Wednesday as part of the Asia Trophy.

The squad have been training in temperatures over 40 degrees and Gardner is hoping the hard work will pay off when the season starts in August.

“Everyone is puffing and panting but it’s a great way to get fit and we will feel the benefits when we get back to England and we should be two or three steps ahead of everyone else,” he told the club's official website.
“The trip has been pretty intense so far, but that’s the way the manager wants us to work and no one has backed down.
“Every player is up for it and they are putting in their all because we want to get as much as we can out of it.”

The Black Cats enjoyed an open training session on Tuesday, with fans able to attend and watch the players put through their paces and Gardner said he had enjoyed the experience at the Hong Kong Stadium.

“It was nice to get to come to the stadium and train on the pitch,” he added
“Not only did we get to see the fans, but we had the chance to try and get used to the humidity because it’s so hot out there."