Phil Bardsley has set his sights on a new Sunderland contract after resisting what he feels were Paolo Di Canio's attempt to "destroy" him.

The right-back has hit two goals in two games to accelerate Gus Poyet’s Black Cats revival with back-to-back home wins over Southampton and Manchester City.

It has helped to rehabilitate the defender but also paid back the faith of the new manager, who brought him in from the cold after Di Canio targeted the defender over the summer.

Bardsley hardly helped himself with some ill-advised social media comments in the interim period but he is thankful to the supporters for seeing past some of the messages which were filtered out by the former manager.

Indeed ,his status with Sunderland supporters has improved enough for him to celebrate with the crowd after Sunday’s winner.

Bardsley jokingly admits a few would have “chinned” him if he’d tried something like that two months ago. Whether it will be enough to earn him a new contract is another matter.

He has eight months left on his current deal and there have been no talks yet, although Poyet intends to use the international break to assess his next move on several players coming to the end of their contracts.

Bardsley is in no doubt about what he wants to happen.

He said: “I’d love to stay here, but it’s up to the club.

“I’m in the last seven to eight months of my contract and we’ll see.

“I have to perform. In the last two games I’ve found some form and now I have to continue that form.

“I need to continue to try and bring some quality to this team and hopefully I can do that.”

Bardsley chose his words carefully on his former manager but admits he felt he was harshly treated by him.

Unlike former boss Martin O’Neill – who named Di Canio as he accused him of being a managerial “charlatan” – Bardsley did not specifically reference the Italian , but the implication was clear.

He added: “You have to be tough upstairs or this game will destroy you.

“A couple of people have tried that

but not been successful. Any footballer has to do his talking on the pitch.

“There were a few situations I was involved in which were difficult for me and my family at the time.

“As I say that’s all in the past now, you have to be mentally strong in this game or it will destroy you. Thankfully for me, I’m quite tough upstairs so I stayed strong.