The 22-year old Irishman is set to return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines caused by two knee injuries and is desperate to force his way back into the Black Cats first team where he was given his first opportunity.
"I remember when the manager turned to me in December 2009 when I made my debut - he showed great faith in me," he told the club's official website.
"Even when I got sent off against Portsmouth that faith continued and I came straight back in.
"I owe a lot to the manager. He gave me a new contract and looked after me.
"Now I want to repay him by getting myself back fit, playing for him and doing well."