SAFC V Swansea

Smith: Reasons for optimism

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Former striker says exciting season set to unfold.

Sunderland’s ‘Son of Pele’, Martin Smith, believes the Black Cats’ summer business shows the club is clearly moving in the right direction.

Martin O’Neill has brought in five players including England winger Adam Johnson and former Wolves striker Steven Fletcher.

Meanwhile the influential Stephane Sessegnon signed a new deal on Wearside, while Louis Saha, Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose have also joined.

We were linked with plenty of players throughout the summer and to finally get the signings over the line was great

- Martin Smith

And Smith believes the summer moves will make Sunderland a Barclays Premier League force this season.

“I think it’s all very exciting,” said the former striker, who made 145 appearances for Sunderland between 1992 and 1999.

“We were linked with plenty of players throughout the summer and to finally get the signings over the line was great.

“Who knows what can happen with a good season?

“The summer signings show that the club is moving in the right direction, as does Stephane Sessegnon signing a new contract.

“Players committing their futures to the club shows we are moving the right way. They will help to attract other players to come here, too.”

Meanwhile Smith says hitman Fletcher will be on cloud nine following his exploits at Swansea in Sunderland’s last game.

The striker scored twice at the Liberty Stadium on his league debut as the Black Cats secured a 2-2 draw in South Wales.

“Getting those couple of goals will have sent his confidence soaring,” Smith explained. “Steven won’t be able to wait until the next game.

“I’m sure he is doing lots of work on the fitness side too, and the more he plays the sharper he will get.

“The international break gives him that little more time to knuckle down and get some hard graft in.

“He will only get better as his fitness improves.”