Martin O'Neill

Boss looking to kick on

by Stuart Vose

O'Neill on tough Swansea test.

Martin O’Neill has warned that his Sunderland side will face a Swansea side full of confidence after reaching the Capital One Cup final.

The Swans saw off Chelsea last week before enjoying a weekend off as the FA Cup with Budweiser programme took precedence.

City will face Bradford City in their first major cup final since 1964, and O’Neill says every single member of Michael Laudrup’s squad will be going all-out to secure their place between now and the Wembley showpiece.

“I think it’s a great boost for them – to reach the final is a great achievement during a brilliant season for Swansea,” he told

“They have done fantastically, following on from last season’s first attempt in the Barclays Premier League.

“They’ve kept the momentum going through a change of manager without any real change in style.

“Everyone there seems to be particularly happy.

“I think [getting to the final] gives them an added boost to competition for places, more than anything else.”

Sunderland welcome the Welsh club to Wearside having played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium earlier in the season.

“It was a strange affair, with them having the major part of the possession,” O’Neill recalled.

“I said at the end of the game that my only disappointment was we didn’t seem to have enough energy reserved to go and win the game, especially when they had a man sent off.

“Having said that we took a point away from home, which wasn’t too bad.”

A victory on Tuesday evening could see Sunderland advance into the top half of the Barclays Premier League.

They have surged upwards since just before Christmas, mirroring the progress made at the same time last season during the early stages of O’Neill’s time in charge.

And the Stadium of Light chief is hoping to sustain a similar run this time around.

“There’s parallels between now and last season, when we had an excellent January,” he said.

“We beat Manchester City and Wigan in quick succession and were going strongly at the time.

“After losing at Chelsea we came back with big wins against Swansea and Norwich, which took us out of trouble.

“We have to try and continue in the same vein if possible, though it won’t be easy of course.”