Kovac hoping for positive result
Kovac was introduced as a second-half substitute for the injured Valon Behrami in the weekend draw at the Britannia Stadium and the 30-year-old is now eyeing a place in the side at the Stadium of Light. The former Spartak Moscow star is also eager to be involved in the mouth-watering London derbies with Tottenham on Saturday and Fulham on October 2. "It was good for us to get a point because it was a very hard game," said Kovac. "We have lost our last three games, so to get a draw and not lose gives us a real boost. From now, our confidence can get better and better and better. "I enjoy the physical battle against Stoke every time, putting in challenges and winning headers. "We go to Sunderland and we need to get a result there to set us up well for Tottenham. We have two important home games coming up and I hope to be in the starting line-up for both of them. "I didn't play in the last three games, but I felt very good physically when I came on. This is because I have played two full matches for the reserve team. It is very important that I played these games. "The games I played at Leicester and Everton were important for me because they enabled me to keep my match-fitness. They were very good."