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Gardner sets his sights on goal trail.

Byline: Mark Douglas Mark William Douglas (b. 20 October, 1968 in Nelson, New Zealand) is an international cricketer. He played six one-day internationals and no Tests for New Zealand. He also played for Nelson in the Hawke Cup.  

CRAIG Gardner Craig Gardner (born November 25, 1986 in Solihull) is an English footballer, who plays for the English Premiership club Aston Villa as a midfielder. He grew up in the Yardley district of Birmingham and was offered the chance to play for Aston Villa's rivals Birmingham City but  is aiming to hit double figures from midfield again next season - and finally shed his tag as Sunderland's Mr Versatile.

Gardner was signed on the back of scoring 10 goals for relegated Birmingham but was lightly used by Steve Bruce The of this article or section may be compromised by "weasel words".
You can help Wikipedia by removing weasel words.
, and asked to fill in at right-back by Martin O'Neill for spells in the second half of last season.

That lack of a settled run in the side was compounded by persistent talk of him being homesick home·sick  
Acutely longing for one's family or home.

 - speculation that he has now squashed by insisting he is settled and enjoying life in the North East.

He has put those teething teething /teeth·ing/ (teth´ing) the entire process resulting in eruption of the teeth.

The eruption or cutting of the teeth.
 problems behind him though, and intends to take a critical season in his career by the scruff of its neck after spending large parts of the summer working with his brother to keep on top of his fitness.

Although Gardner would never shirk shirk

In Islam, idolatry and polytheism, both of which are regarded as heretical. The Qu'ran stresses that God does not share his powers with any partner (sharik) and warns that those who believe in idols will be harshly dealt with on the Day of Judgment.
 his duties if asked to fill in elsewhere, he hopes his attitude and work-rate will be enough to persuade O'Neill to play him in his preferred position of central midfield.

If that happens, he believes he can be among the goals again next term.

He said: "I feel I am a goalscoring midfielder and for me next season I want to get into double figures again, like I did the previous season at Birmingham City.

"The first half of last season didn't do me any favours as I wasn't picked by Steve Bruce. I came here as an attacking midfielder and I don't know what I ended up as. I played every position bar keeper.

"Don't get me wrong, I don't mind playing anywhere as I just want to get into the team, but I feel like an attacking midfielder.

"If the gaffer asks me to play anywhere I will do. I am the type of person that just wants three points for the club. I'd do anything to achieve that. "I am sure you get some players who don't feel that way, but that's the way I think about it. There are 30 to 40,000 fans out there just wanting to see you do your job, so if I turned my nose up at playing right back what would they think about me? "You are paid to do a job, so you should do it to the best of your ability and get on with it." If Gardner could re-produce his Birmingham form, it would certainly solve a problem for O'Neill - who knows he must improve the Black Cats' attacking threat next term. His bullish Bullish

Word used to describe an investor's attitude. Bullish refers to an optimistic outlook, while bearish means a pessimistic outlook.

 mood will also be noted by O'Neill, who had to answer a stream of questions about Gardner being unsettled last year. Too much was made of it, the midfielder insists.

"I do like it up here. I have never once come out and said I didn't like it," he said. I did say I found it hard and I'll admit that. It was hard. At the start when I first moved here it was a bit of a reality check for me. I had moved away from Birmingham, where I have always been but I like it here now. "Martin O'Neill said it was the North-east not the Middle East, which was quite funny. I can take jokes like that on the chin because it was funny, but I have wised up to the situation now and I really enjoy it now. The lads have really helped me along and I am loving it here." Gardner was speaking at the launch of Sunderland's new away kit, which will be emblazoned with new sponsors Invest in Africa. The significant commercial news heralds the beginning of a big summer for the club - and a potentially crucial campaign on the pitch. "It's a massive season for the club," Gardner acknowledges. "There are a lot of new things happening and the players are very proud to wear the Sunderland shirt. There are loads of opportunities available to the players next season. Hopefully we will also bring in two or three new faces and will push on next year."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 27, 2012
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