Fletcher pleased with depth

by Ashley Houghton

Striker assesses options ahead of Arsenal clash.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher feels that extra competition for places can only have a positive impact on the Black Cats ahead of Saturday’s clash with Arsenal at the Stadium of Light.

Fabio Borini, Ki Sung-Yueng and Andrea Dossena joined the club just before the transfer window closed, making it 13 new faces in the senior squad from the side which finished last season.

And Fletcher believes that level of competition will spur on every member of the squad.

“We’ve got a big squad now,” the Scotland international said. “It’s good for the players already here, that bit of competition, so I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s a long season - we found that out last year when we didn’t have a big squad and we had a few injuries that caught up with us.”

Fletcher also feels the Black Cats have to focus on themselves ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger’s side were busy themselves on the final day of the transfer window, adding Germany international Mesut Ozil to their ranks.

And, despite Fletcher’s acknowledgement of the former Real Madrid midfielder’s ability, the Scottish international feels the Black Cats’ concentration has to be on what they can do.

“We don’t want to think about them too much because we know they’re a good side,” Fletcher said.

“Obviously they’ve brought in Ozil who is a good player but we need to concentrate on our performance rather than anything else.

“They’ve had a decent start but we’ve got a number of strikers which is good for us.”

Should Fletcher feature against Arsenal it would be his first game at the Stadium of Light in six months and the former Wolves man is excited by the prospect.

“It’s a massive game; we’ve got a few big games coming up so this is one of many,” he continued. “It’s obviously the first Barclays Premier League home game for me this season so I’m looking forward to it.”