City midfielder hopeful of pre-season minutes v Athletic Club
CITY midfielder Aron Gunnarsson has declared himself fit and raring to go ahead of the Bluebirds’ final Premier League preparation match against Athletic Club at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.
Gunnarsson has been out of action for the Bluebirds since picking up a shoulder injury whilst playing for his national side Iceland in June, but after a strong period of recuperation with the City physios during the summer he is now targeting a playing return against the La Liga outfit tomorrow.
Pleased to be back in the fold after a frustrating period out, Gunnarsson said: “I’m fit enough and raring to go. Hopefully I’ll get some minutes tomorrow.
“I’m getting there now and am still on schedule. I’ve got my individual plan, but I’ve joined back with the team and I’ve started doing contact training again which is making me smile finally.
“It was that kind of injury where I could still run, just couldn’t get involved in contact. I think the lads enjoyed just seeing me run, but I’m fit and my shoulder is getting stronger and more stable now.
“Obviously I hope to get some minutes tomorrow against Athletic Club and start to build-up my fitness once again.”
It’s a recuperation that has seen him withdraw from the Icelandic set-up for their upcoming friendly match with the Faroe Islands on the 14th August, looking to focus on his recovery with the Bluebirds first and foremost.
“I’ve pulled out of the squad for Iceland, I’m not match fit,” said Gunnarsson, “The physios want me to stay here and keep working on my shoulder so I can be ready for the start of the season.
“I’m hoping to get a match here with Cardiff. I spoke to the Icelandic manager and we had a good conversation about it and we both decided that it was best for me to stay here and continue to work on my fitness and then hopefully be fit for their upcoming qualifying matches if possible.”
Gunnarsson played a pivotal role in the Bluebirds’ Championship winning success last season, playing a part in all but one of City’s campaign at the heart of midfield.
Now, with City just over a week away from making their Premier League bow against West Ham United on the 17th August, Gunnarsson is looking to embrace the challenge ahead along with the rest of the City squad.
“All the lads can’t wait,” said Gunnarsson. “To see how the lads came in from the summer holidays fitter than usual you can see that. Everyone is really looking forward to it and everyone is working hard to get in to the team for the first game.
“It’s certainly not something I’m nervous about. It’s a great opportunity to show myself how I can do and see how I stand against these players. It’s more looking forward to the challenge ahead rather than looking at nervously.
“We’ve not really looked into what critics are saying. We work hard for each other and we’re going to do everything to help each other. We’re not going to be looking at that and say we need to prove ourselves. We need to work and fight together for every point in this league.
“We’ve never played in this league. In a way we don’t know what will come at us. It’s how we are, we stick together and that just might take us somewhere.
“Last season takes us into this campaign with plenty of confidence. We’re going to be bright and hope to keep on what we were doing. It worked last season and hopefully it’ll work again this season.
“We’re going to come into the season fighting. It’s how we are.”