Martin Smith

Smith Says...

by Martin Smith

Columnist on Fulham, Simon Mignolet and West Brom.

I watched the Fulham game on TV and it was great to see the lads pick up three points away from home.

Obviously the sending off was a big turning point. I thought the first half was tight but once we went 2-1 and then 3-1 up in the second half you could see the confidence about the team.

We still needed Simon Mignolet to pull off two very good saves but there were real signs of improvement.

Simon Mignolet is up there with the best in the league and consistently comes up with big saves

- Martin Smith

It’s carried through from the end of the Aston Villa game and then the Everton game – we’re seeing players really getting back into form.

We’re getting those building blocks in place and it looks as if the team are playing their way back into form.

Obviously the attacking players got the plaudits at Fulham but I thought Simon was excellent in goal.

I’ve been a big fan of him since he first came over and the managers he’s played for have stuck with him. I think he’s proven now that he’s one of the best around. Certainly there’s not many you’d swap him for.

He’s up there with the best in the league and consistently comes up with big saves.

Simon isn’t a flashy player or one for the cameras – he gets on with his job and gets it done with the minimum of fuss.

He’s keeping out a fellow international in Keiren Westwood too which is another string to his bow.

It was great to see Steven Fletcher get on the scoresheet as well after he had the kind of start to his Sunderland career where everything he touched went in.

He’s looked the part even when he’s not scored, working hard for the team and you can’t ask for any more than that.

The ball Adam Johnson put through for Steven’s goal will have done Adam the world of good, too. You pay the money for moments like that.

Sessegnon’s goal will do him the world of good as well going into a tough game this weekend.

West Brom have really established themselves in the Barclays Premier League and got a great scalp last week by beating Chelsea.

They’ll be coming here full of confidence, sitting fourth in the league and playing ever so well.

They’ve got some good players and a solid defence and it’ll be another tough game for us.