Bramble determined to retain Sunderland first-team spot

The Black Cats defender has set his sights on an extended run in the starting line-up as fellow centre-backs Carlos Cuellar and Matthew Kilgallon edge closer to fitness
Titus Bramble is keen to continue his run at the heart of the Sunderland rearguard after featuring heavily since the festive period.

The 31-year-old has started all but one game so far in 2013 and is grateful for the opportunity to prove his worth.

"This is one of the longer runs I've had and I'm really happy to be playing," Bramble told the club's official website.

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"Every player wants a run in the side and in recent weeks I've been fortunate enough to be able to do that.

"I'm enjoying my football. Everyone wants to be in the team and that's when you're at your happiest."

But with Matthew Kilgallon and Carlos Cuellar approaching contention after injury, the former Wigan and Newcastle United man is ready to work for his place and knows that he cannot afford to be complacent.

"You never know if you are going to be in the team from week to week, so it's important to keep working hard in training to make sure of your place," Bramble continued.

"That's why you have to keep impressing in training, so that when the chance comes you're ready for it.

"There's been chances for everyone this season because injuries and suspensions do happen."