Sunderland striker Michael Chopra has thanked manager Roy Keane for allowing him to sort himself out.
The 24-year-old returned to action for the reserves on Wednesday after serving a three-match ban as a result of a sending-off in pre-season. However, during his enforced lay-off, he spent a week at the Sporting Chance Clinic in Hampshire dealing with personal problems.
The player told the club's official website: "I'm playing with a smile on my face again. It's down to me to work hard now and get my place in the team. I had a week away trying to sort myself out, and I'm pleased the gaffer let me do that. I'm grateful to him."
He added: "It's showing in my football and I am getting to be the player I used to be."
Chopra hit the headlines earlier this year when his marital problems - his wife is Heather Swan, who appeared on the ITV2 reality show Wags Boutique - were made public.
But Chopra is now ready to resume his career and after scoring in the reserves' 2-1 win over Liverpool, will hope he can force his way into Keane's plans for Saturday's derby clash with Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light.
He continued: "I need to get a little bit fitter, but everything's going how I planned it and it was great to get a game last night and contribute.
"If I'm not scoring goals, I want to be creating chances for the side and thankfully, I managed to do both last night.
"I would love to be involved against Boro, but we will see what the gaffer does because he's got good options."
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