Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill’s Sunderland home wish

Martin O'Neill is hoping Sunderland will make more of their home comforts in 2012 than they have in 2011.

The Black Cats' 1-1 draw with Everton means they have won just four times at the Stadium of Light this year with Blackburn twice, Wigan and Stoke their only victims.

That has resulted in a paltry return of 16 points from a possible 51 in a difficult 12 months on Wearside, and was a major contributory factor in Steve Bruce's departure at the end of last month.

Bruce frequently lamented the loss of strikers Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan as a factor in that run of results, and his successor has some sympathy with that view.

O'Neill said: “There are a couple of games I have watched back.

“I don't know really what it was like at the back end of last season, particularly when they lost a couple of goalscorers in Bent and Welbeck, so that might have had an effect at the time.

“You are where you are and we have to do something about it.”

Their next opportunity comes on New Year's Day but, with Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City the visitors, it will be in the most testing of circumstances.

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