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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 2 December 2005  - 12:00

Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our next opponents - this time his thoughts on Sunderland before Saturday's clash at the Lane.

Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our next opponents - this time his thoughts on Sunderland before Saturday's clash at the Lane.

IT HAS been difficult for Sunderland. I know Mick McCarthy very well and he'll certainly motivate his players and there is no doubt that they will keep going and keep going and look to turn their form and fortunes around. You can be sure it will turn against someone - we have to make sure it's not us.

They are a whole-hearted side and some of their performances this season have warranted better results. But when you are down there every game becomes a hard game, more desperate and the lack of confidence comes into it.

They just need that one spark or performance that leads to another to turns things around for them.

They will work as hard as always and I'm sure they will set up as they have all season in a 4-4-2 formation

They have experience in Gary Breen and Alan Stubbs at the back, very similar to Wigan in that way, two experienced centre-halves. Stubbs did well at Everton and Breen I know well from Ireland, an athletic, whole-hearted defender. He won't enjoy the fact they aren't winning games at the moment.

They've brought in some players on loan - Justin Hoyte from Arsenal, Nyron Nosworthy who I knew from Gillingham and caught the eye there a few times. Dean Whitehead did ever so well for them last season and scored valuable goals.

Up front they've got Jon Stead, who had a really good spell a couple of seasons ago at Blackburn. He was very well thought of there. Anthony Le Tallec is on loan from Liverpool - both quality players on their day. I also know Stephen Elliott from Ireland, he didn't play last time but will give them lots of running ability and an edge up front.

To be fair, Sunderland will look to play as well. They are not a side that generally just gets bodies behind the ball and look to counter you. It will be another tough game but as we always say, every game is.