SAFC v Reading

O’Neill: We want to compete

by Kate Smith

Boss ready for Bolton clash.

Manager Martin O’Neill is hoping a result against Bolton Wanderers could be a good boost for Sunderland’s season.   

Last year, the Black Cats embarked on a great cup run after O’Neill took charge of the team and the success in the competition seemed to inspire Sunderland as they went on an unbeaten run of five games after defeating Peterborough in their opening game.

O’Neill told “Last season we got through to the quarter finals, which was the furthest the club has been in the competition for some time.

“We certainly want to emulate that, so whatever side we put out tomorrow we want to compete.”

Sunderland travel to the Reebok Stadium on the back of a busy festive period, which has seen the team play four tough games in 12 days.

“I’m delighted with the effort the team has put in over the festive period,” O’Neill continued, “especially when you think that there hasn’t been a lot of time to do much on the training pitch.

“After such a hectic schedule the FA Cup game against Bolton will prove difficult for us.”

Sunderland have been victorious on their last three trips to Bolton, but O’Neill is expecting Wanderers, who are now competing in the Championship to prove a lot trickier on Saturday.

He said: “Bolton are a good side. They were relegated at the very end of the season and didn’t stop fighting.

“Tomorrow they have got very little to lose, they can play with freedom and we’ve got to go there and be on guard against that.

“This is a competition we want to do well in.

“A win in the cup can give your season a bit of momentum. It’s a good boost to the confidence.”