ANTON FERDINAND has sounded an alarm call to Sunderland ahead of their Premier League curtain raiser at Bolton on Saturday. This club is a sleeping giant and its about time we woke up, he declared.
Ferdinand is one of only two fit centre halves at Steve Bruces disposal after Nyron Noswiorthy sustained a broken finger last Saturday.
But with Sunderland leading the chase to sign defensive pair Sylvain Distin and Lucas Neill, the former West Ham trainee acknowledges hell face a battle to retain his place.
Free agent Neill is weighing up offers from a number of clubs, including Turkish outfit Galatasaray, but Wearside is believed to be his preferred destination if personal terms can be agreed.
Ferdinand has been hugely impressed by the clubs determination to recruit high calibre players this summer and believes their Premier League rivals will have taken note of Sunderlands growing swagger in the transfer market.
Some of the things that have happened here, the rest of the football world will have stood up and taken notice, said the 24-year-old.
The recruitment of clubrecord signing Darren Bent swelled the ranks of Londoners at the club and Peckhamborn Ferdinand has strong views regarding the players who make a success of life in the North-East and those that fall by the wayside.
The players that dont plug into the region and the passion of the people for the football club here, they are the ones that fall behind and get left behind, he said.
They are the type of players that the fans turn on quicker than others. You cant come to the North-East and not know what the football is all about round here. If you take it on board, youll be fine.
If you dont, people will want to know why.
The fans have waited for this to happen for so many years, for them to be the only club in the big time. Its finally happened and now its up to us as players to make it even better for them.
Ferdinand expects to see his game to improve significantly under Bruces tutelage and noted the former Wigan managers ability to rehabilitate the career of Titus Bramble as evidence of his skills as a coach and defensive mentor.
Ive enjoyed every minute of working with Steve Bruce, he admitted.
He helps players to become more consistent and that is what I need at this stage in my career. He was a class defender who won a lot of medals.
Hes not said to me Youve got to do this, youve got to do that but hes planted a few seeds in my head.
He has told me things to do as a defender hes talked concentration and how important it is not to switch off. I want to please him as a manager and I know that if I do then Ill be pleased with myself.
I wasnt always at the level I wanted to be last year. Im my own worst critic so I never think Ive played out of this world I always find something I could have done better.
I enjoyed last season but the way we finished was not what I expected from this squad. But we have to go through dark times before we get to good times and hopefully those dark days are over now.
Martin Petrov has told the Bulgarian media he wants to quit Manchester City this summer in order to secure first-team football.
I dont see City depending too much on me this year, at least from what I have seen from the pre-season friendlies so far, Petrov said. No footballer is content with polishing the bench and I am no exception. The left winger plans talks with boss Mark Hughes.