DAVID Healy is revelling in his return to the Sunderland first-team and hopes his short cameo at the Riverside shows he has plenty still to offer.
The introduction of Healy, Carlos Edwards and Andy Reid helped to turn the tide of a game that was running away from Sunderland. The combination of the Republic of Ireland midfielder and the Northern Ireland striker set up the equalising goal for Kenwyne Jones against Middlesbrough.
It gave the Black Cats a point that their second-half efforts deserved, and Healy his first positive contribution to the Sunderland cause for months.
It was a timely intervention too, coming on the back of speculation this week that Healy may be Rangers-bound during the January transfer window. That has been dismissed by both the player and his manager Ricky Sbragia as Healy focuses on getting his career back on track after a frustrating first five months on Wearside.
“I’m really pleased to be back in the fold at the moment, it’s been really pleasing to get back among it. Hopefully I’ve got something to offer the new manager and long may it continue,” he said.
“Coming away from home against our North East rivals, you would probably take a point from that before the game. We were one down for long periods in the game so we showed our character to come back into it. But just before we equalised and then straight away after we had done, it looked like there would only be one winner.
“So we ended up the afternoon slightly disappointed but to get a point away from home anywhere in the Premier League is beneficial come the end of the season.”
Healy also paid tribute to the impact of Reid, who was similarly impressive when summoned from the bench on 65 minutes.
The midfielder has struggled for consistency at times this season but from the bench he conjured one of his best displays for months to help Sunderland grab a potentially pivotal point. “That is what subs should do – you should make an impact,” Healy said.
“Ricky made changes for the good of the team and to try to change things.
“I’m just glad that we were able to do that. Andy Reid is a quality player and the pass he played to me was top drawer.
“He put quality crosses and good balls into the box as soon as he came on and then when I came on we were able to go to three up front as we went pressing for the equaliser. We went back to the four across the middle after we’d scored and it was important to do that.”