Sunderland fullback Phil Bardsley admits a preseason injury saved him from the axe.
Bardsley knows he was close to being kicked out of the Wearside club. Now, he is looking to win a new contract.
Bardsley told the Daily Mail: "I spent the summer in the boxing gym again. I do it every summer and I trained all over the break. I came back fit and wanted to be as ready as I could be for whatever happened.
"All credit to Kevin Ball, Robbie Stockdale and Scotty Pearce for getting me in great nick over the summer.
"Unfortunately I broke my foot in a daft challenge and I remember thinking at the time 'Can this get any worse?'
"People at the club said to me it was the best thing that has happened to me at the football club because I could have been on my way out. That's a nice little thing for people to say. It hurt though!"
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