April 24, 2024

The Black Cats manager hopes to complete the double over Championship rivals Hull City tonight.

Sunderland manager Michael Beale wants his side to respond strongly against Hull City tonight after their defeat to Ipswich Town last weekend, including being more ruthless with their chances.

The two play-off contenders face up in front of the TV cameras on Wearside this evening, with both striving for consistency in the latter part of the season. The Black Cats tumbled out of the top six after having an early lead at Ipswich Town reversed, while City were defeated at home by Norwich City and then lost in injury time at Birmingham in their FA Cup replay on Tuesday night.

Beale has already seen his side upset Hull in his short time in command, with Jack Clarke’s winner handing them a Boxing Day triumph on Humberside, but the defeat to Ipswich, as well as the derby-day FA Cup departure, have meant the new Sunderland boss has not had an easy first month on Wearside.

And the Black Cats manager wants to see a vicious streak added to his team’s game, which has been lacking in front of goal this season.

“It’s a big game, but it’s important we dust ourselves down (at home) and bounce back strongly,” he said. “It’s a team we’ve just played and beaten, and we need to get back to winning at home.


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“We’re not ruthless enough in the last third, but if you can’t win, don’t lose the game, and don’t lose it in that manner. It’s quite disheartening for us since it was a solid performance. We had enough time to get something out of the game, so it wasn’t all bad. It was simply naïve in a critical time of the game, with razor-thin margins. At the end, it was clear how much it meant to Ipswich, as well as how important the three points were to them. That one moment in a set-play must mean more to us.

“Most games in this league will be low-scoring affairs. The focus is on these two major home games; we performed well in the opposite scenario. It’s another opportunity for my staff to showcase themselves.”

Beale has one fresh injury concern to deal with, with defender Aji Alese now being assessed after suffering an injury in training. With Niall Huggins already out, Sunderland could do without more defensive concerns, though Beale insisted he had options at the back.

“There are no further injuries apart from maybe Aji Alese.,” the doctor said. “He withdrew from training, but we have yet to determine the nature of the reason.

“We have the option of switching from a back four to a back three depending on how well Jenson (Seelt) performs in training and in the side. It may take some time to develop a specific playing style, but these are hardworking guys who demonstrate their abilities every day.”

The Black Cats can always count on the loud support of their home fans, as demonstrated in the FA Cup match against Newcastle. Beale is new to Wearside, but he understands how essential the support at the Stadium of Light is and wants his team to take advantage of it.

“We have some of the highest attendances in the league, and we want to make the Stadium of Light a fortress,” he said before of tonight’s game.

“However, it is up to us to drive the fans on with our hard work and intensity. We know they will support us, but we must perform.”

Sunderland’s first of two consecutive home games comes on Saturday, January 27, against Stoke City on Wearside. A brief visit to Middlesbrough follows on February 4, before Plymouth Argyle travels to the North East on Saturday, February 10.





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