MK Dons v Sunderland

Boss: Take the initiative

Published:
by Kate Morton

O’Neill sizes up Latics.

Martin O’Neill wants to see his side on the front foot against Wigan this weekend.

Sunderland return to action at the Stadium of Light on Saturday following consecutive away games at West Ham and MK Dons.

Wigan have lost each of their last two league games but responded with a fine 4-1 win over the Hammers in the Capital One Cup in midweek.

It’s a difficult game for us. Wigan are strong, they have a bit of panache and desire about their game, even though the result didn’t go their way last weekend.

- Martin O'Neill

 “We have an opportunity to take the initiative,” mused O’Neill.

"Wigan are a fine side. There’s the old cliché about there being no easy games, but there genuinely aren’t, home or away.

“You have to battle your way through every game.

“It’s a difficult game for us. Wigan are strong, they have a bit of panache and desire about their game, even though the result didn’t go their way [at Fulham] last weekend.

“We have to relish the game and I look forward to us doing our very best.”

O’Neill was forced to make a number of changes for the win at Milton Keynes after seeing his squad hit by injuries.

A similar scenario occurred ahead of a clash with Wigan last season, as a patched-up Sunderland side ran out 4-1 winners at the DW Stadium.

“If we can reflect on that it might give us a wee bit of hope,” he explained.

“It was a strange game for many reasons. I thought we were outplayed for the first 25 minutes but went in a goal up at half time.

“In the second half everything we touched turned to gold and it was a fantastic victory for us.

“That win and the one over Manchester City [in the previous game] were really important come the end of the season and I’m hoping that maybe we might have the same reaction again.”