Belfast Telegraph

O'Neill relishing Black Cats bow

New Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill can hardly wait to lead his team out at a "rocking" Stadium of Light on Sunday, when fellow strugglers Blackburn are the visitors.

The Northern Irishman was confirmed as Steve Bruce's successor on Saturday and officially took charge on Monday, but will meet the majority of his squad for the first time at Tuesday's training session before being unveiled to the media on Tuesday afternoon.

He is relishing the opportunity and told SAFC TV: "When the Stadium of Light is rocking it really is intimidating for other teams coming up."

He added: "I have managed on a number of occasions against Sunderland, in particular when I was in charge of Leicester for the League Cup semi-final in 1999.

"Sunderland at that stage had a really strong side. We did well to win the game; they gave us a torrid time and could have easily have gone through.

"I think the move from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light was done well; the club have settled in.

"The lights shining at night make the place a bit special. In recent times I have been up with Aston Villa and it's still an intimidating place; a great place if you can win your games."

O'Neill is eager to buy into the vision sold to him by Black Cats chairman and owner Ellis Short and added: "Mr Short impressed me very much with his vision for the club.

"He has great aspirations for it, and like everyone who takes on a football club he wants it to be as successful as possible.

"He has these plans for the football club which are very impressive indeed."

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