Kirchhoff does not want to be substituted so many times this season.
Kirchhoff proved to be a pivotal signing for the club last January as he shielded the back four in the Black Cats' successful survival push.
However, he was withdrawn on 10 occasions and the 25-year-old would like to complete more matches this term as he looks to establish himself as a key player under David Moyes.
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He is quoted in the Sunderland Echo, saying: “I feel comfortable to be healthy enough to stay on the pitch and go for a whole season, that won’t be the problem.
“Fitness is something you can improve always which helps to make your game easier, and that wasn’t the case last year. It was what I struggled with a little bit.
“But also, it wasn’t in this bad a condition that I can’t stay on the pitch; I played good games until the 70th minute and then we made some substitutes, even in the last five games I was able to play 90 minutes.
“I expect myself to be fit enough to go for 90 minutes full tempo and be at the same fitness level as the other guys."
Certainly, Kirchhoff does not want to be lumbered with a statistic in his first full season of being substituted in two-thirds of his outings for the Black Cats. It is wise for him to work on his fitness as over the course of the season playing in front of the back four can be pretty demanding for any player, although one cannot fault his attitude in that he has spotted a flaw in his game and has looked to rectify it.
If Kirchhoff's fitness shows a marked improvement then his contribution to the side can only be a more positive one.