Richardson wants strong finish
Kieran Richardson is hoping that Sunderland can end the current campaign on a high.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 08/04/08 1:14pm
Kieran Richardson is hoping that Sunderland can end the current campaign on a high and lay down a marker for next season.
The Black Cats look almost certain to secure their Premier League status for at least another year following a run of three consecutive victories.
They are now 10 points clear of the drop zone with five games remaining, and it would take a monumental effort from the sides below them for Roy Keane's men to get dragged back into the basement battle.
Despite a relatively successful season for the club back in the top flight, Richardson knows that there is still a lot of work to be done if the Black Cats are to begin challenging further up the table in the near future.
"Personally, I think we're possibly safe now but until it's mathematically certain then we have to keep a close eye on the table," the midfielder told the Sunderland Echo.
"Even when we're guaranteed Premiership football next season, no-one at this club will rest because we all want to end the season on a high.
"Everyone's summer will be a lot happier if we can finish with a strong run of results and everyone will come back for training then with a spring in their step.
"We need to be showing the other clubs that we're a strong Premier League club and that we should be looking good for next season.
"I am sure there will be new faces here in the summer and the manager will bring in more new faces and the better we finish the season the easier it might be for the manager.
"We've got into a position now through a lot of hard work and I'm sure that will continue because we want it and our fans will definitely want it."
The current campaign has been a frustrating one on a personal level for Richardson after seeing his season constantly disrupted by niggling injuries.
However the setbacks have made him even more determined to be a success on Wearside, and the former Manchester United winger admits that he is relishing every minute of first-team action he can get at the moment.
"These last five games of the season are very important to me," he said.
"I don't believe the Sunderland fans have seen what I'm fully capable of and I want to build my fitness more and try to have a bigger influence before the season ends.
"I certainly won't be cruising at the end of the season.
"I've missed too many games, so every minute on the pitch matters to me."