Sebastian Larsson hopes to help Sunderland pull clear of danger after returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The Swedish midfielder spent three months on the treatment table with a knee injury but made a return as a substitute in the draw with Southampton last time out.
The 30-year-old admits his spell out of the side was frustrating and he now hopes to play a key role in helping Sunderland avoid relegation.
“It was my first real injury of my career, so it’s not nice sitting on the side watching the team,” he told the Echo. “But I suppose I’ve had a winter break for the first time ever!
“Hopefully I’ll be refreshed and energised for the run-in.
“But I’ve got to count myself lucky. I’ve been able to stay fit throughout my career. They say it happens to everyone at some stage.”
Larsson was disappointed Sunderland failed to hold on for the win at St Mary’s but he was encouraged by the performance, and is confident the Black Cats can retain their Premier League status.
He added: “The good thing from the last few games is that we keep putting ourselves in situations to win football matches and get points.
“Okay, we weren’t able to do that last week, but if we continue to do that, we’ll win a few before the end of the season.”
Sunderland are 1.50 to be relegated at the end of the season.