Belfast Telegraph

O'Neill aims to lift darkness

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, resulting in a paltry return of 16 points from a possible 51 in a difficult 12 months on Wearside.

Steve Bruce, who paid for that run of form by losing his job, frequently lamented the lost of strikers Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan as a factor, and his successor as some sympathy with that view, saying: "There are a couple of games I have watched back, and you can have a bit of misfortune in some matches."

He added: "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."

Goals have been hard to come by in recent months, although with front two Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon having both scored in the 3-2 win at QPR last Wednesday night, the manager knows the potential is there.

Sessegnon has regularly looked the club's most dangerous player this season, and O'Neill is confident there is more to come from the Benin international.

He said: "That's something he can add to his game. He doesn't have to be absolutely prolific - although we would love that - but it would be nice just to have a few more goals coming from him.

"For all the good work that he does for us, wouldn't that be a fantastic bonus?

"I think that would give him a big lift as well."

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