Belfast Telegraph

Poyet poised for tough sell

Gus Poyet has echoed the sentiments of one of his Sunderland predecessors by conceding his club have to work overtime to attract top-quality players to the north-east.

Former Black Cats boss Roy Keane launched an infamous tirade in August 2007 in which he blasted "weak and soft" stars who "don't want to come [to Sunderland] because their wife wants to go shopping in London."

The mild-mannered Poyet did not go quite that far but he did acknowledge that geographical issues will make the job of luring improvements to the Stadium of Light in January all the more difficult.

Poyet said: "When you give certain types of players the option of going to London or the north-east in the same conditions, 99 from 100 will choose London and that's the reality.

"We have to be a step ahead - we have to do things better than those clubs in the south or in other countries in a nice place with different weather.

"We need to do something that will convince them to come to the north. On top of that it is even more difficult in January because clubs don't want to lose their best players, so everything needs to come together."

Poyet has seen his side's prospects improve after a gruelling week which saw combative draws against Chelsea and Liverpool which sandwiched a 4-1 home thrashing by a Sergio Aguero-inspired Manchester City.

Victory over West Ham on Saturday would give the Black Cats a major boost ahead of their festive fixture programme and could convince Poyet to stay the course with his current squad for the remainder of the season.

Poyet added: "When a player of more than decent quality becomes available there are too many people who want him. It's not going to be easy but it's not about quantity, it's about quality and if it's not quality then it's going to be no-one."

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