West Ham v SAFC

Boss eyeing break boost

by Stuart Vose

MON: 'Hopefully the break will have re-energised the players'

Martin O’Neill is hoping last week’s trip to the Middle East has freshened up his squad ahead of the final third of the campaign.

Sunderland spent last week at a warm-weather training camp in Dubai as O’Neill put his side through their paces.

The Black Cats returned to the north east last weekend and are back at the Academy of Light as the build-up to this weekend’s game at West Brom continues.

“I would have rather have been playing cup matches, but we were joined there by other Premier League teams who also thought it was a good idea,” he said.

 “We had an opportunity to see the sun and get a few proper days’ training in, and I think it worked out well.”

O’Neill added: “What happens over the course of the final third of the season is the most important thing. We start with West Bromwich Albion.

“Hopefully the break will have re-energised the players and got them going. The proof is always in the pudding.

“I have done this before with other teams, sometimes to fantastic effect.”