Harte targets starting spot
Ian Harte is hoping Paul McShane's suspension will give him the chance to claim a starting spot with Sunderland.
By Rob Parrish
Last Updated: 11/10/07 3:07pm
Ian Harte is hoping Paul McShane's forthcoming suspension will give him the chance to stake a claim for a starting spot with Sunderland.
Harte, released by Levante at the end of last season, is yet to start for the Black Cats following his arrival as a free agent.
But with centre-back McShane ruled out of the forthcoming fixtures against West Ham, Fulham and Manchester City after his red card against Arsenal, Roy Keane will be forced to make changes to his defence.
One option open to Keane is the decision he took for the closing stages at Emirates Stadium in the wake of McShane's dismissal, shifting Danny Collins into the centre from left-back and bringing on Harte from the bench.
Harte told the Sunderland Echo: "It's up to the manager to decide what to do. Obviously Paul McShane is suspended for a few games now and that means the team will change a bit and if I get the chance, I'll do my best to stay in the side."
The former Republic of Ireland international was in action in Wednesday night's reserve victory over Bolton, scoring from the penalty spot in a 3-0 victory.
He added: "I'm fully fit now after getting a few reserves games under my belt.
"They give you a chance to get your fitness levels up and then when you do get a first-team chance, it is up to you to take it."
And Harte, whose last game in the Premier League came with Leeds at the end of the 2003/04 season, was happy to have a small taste of the action against the Gunners.
He said: "It was only a minute-and-a-half, but it was my first game back in England and it was nice to get on the pitch. It would have been even nicer if it had been longer!
"The Premiership is pretty similar now to when I was in England before. It's 90 minutes of hard running and it is about possession - you have to get the ball on the floor and pass it."