Sunderland captain John O'Shea has praised the role of Phil Bardsley since the full-back returned to the side. Under previous Black Cats manager Paolo Di Canio, Bardsley was suspended by the club last August following a number of off-field incidents.

But he has been an ever-present since Gus Poyet became Black Cats boss.

"Phil is a player we need to keep hold of. He's been brilliant and really has become the heart and soul of the club now," O'Shea told BBC Newcastle.

"It has been a real turnaround from the Swansea game to now," added O'Shea.

"And before that, let's be honest he was probably only inches away from leaving the club.

"But it's great that he's come back in as we need to keep players that have been here a while.

"There's Phil and Jack Colback, then after that I think I'm the longest-serving player."

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