O'Neill rejects Gardner talk
Martin O'Neill has denied reports Craig Gardner is unsettled and wants to return to the Midlands after just six months at Sunderland.
Last Updated: 20/12/11 3:06pm
Martin O'Neill has denied reports midfielder Craig Gardner is unsettled and wants to move back to the Midlands after just six months at Sunderland.
Reports surfaced on Monday that the Solihull-born player is homesick after joining the Black Cats from Birmingham for £5million in the summer.
Speculation also suggested Wolves were hoping to bring the former Aston Villa man back to the Midlands.
However manager O'Neill, who also worked with 25-year-old Gardner during his spell as Villa boss, insists he is keen to prove himself on Wearside.
"I know Craig from our days together at Aston Villa. He really is a great character," O'Neill told Sky Sports News.
"He's been a family man for a long, long time. His family are down in the Midlands.
"I think he wants to do his best to settle here and prove the move successful."
With Sunderland sitting 16th in the Premier League and just a point clear of the relegation zone, O'Neill insists the club are not placed to let any of their players go next month.
He added: "I don't think we're in a position at this minute, on a more general note, to be letting people go in January, particularly given our situation at this minute.
"I think from that viewpoint I just want everybody to try and knuckle down, get on with it and see where we are in the summertime."