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gus loves cattermole…
who doesn't?

Gus Poyet believes that we can take responsibility for Jack Colback's England call up and has a plan to get Lee Cattermole in the England squad! Gus said: "Jack knows how much we helped him develop. He's in the national team now – and that's 98% down to us and 2% down to Newcastle. He's been there for two and a half minutes and now he's an England player. Maybe that's because he's playing with all French players at Newcastle, so he stands out. We'll have to bring in lots of French players here to help Lee Cattermole play for England." I love Gus.

He continued his praise for Lee Cattermole and admitted that he wouldn't swap him for any other defensive midfielder: "The way we play and the way Lee covers and understands the game now, I wouldn't buy another player to replace him. Liam has been with us for three years. That was an easy one because he knows the role perfectly. He can play that with his eyes closed. Now he can play better or worse, but he knows the role. But Lee has learned that role to the point where it's so impressive with his positioning and the way he defends."

He also insisted that Connor Wickham has NOT been offered a contract extension but still expects him to stay at the club: "I said in the situation where Connor is, either he signed a new contract or the club needs to sell and that was simple. However, I didn't say we had offered him a contract, no we didn't, so nobody needs to accept an offer they haven't been offered. I didn't say anything about an offer. That was the normal situation with any player except he's under 23 which in this case brings compensation to the table. If Connor keeps playing and keeps scoring goals I'm sure he would like to stay here because he feels important, except if a top, top club comes in for him like any other player. I'm confident when this transfer window finishes he will sign. I want Connor to stay here."

Back to transfers and Poyet reckons that if we don't sign more players we'll be in trouble. He said: "If we don't get the players in we have a problem. I'm talking about quantity. In a normal squad you have a certain number of players to be able to cope with the season. It would be dangerous, very dangerous (not to sign more players) but we will, don't worry. Which ones, we don't talk about, but we will."

The Fabio Borini deal may be back on the table after Brendan Rodgers has apparently told Fabio that he would be better off leaving Liverpool. Rodgers said: "I think Fabio's situation is clear. All the players who there have been doubts about know exactly where they are at. Fabio has got a move there to Sunderland which has been ongoing for a number of weeks. He knows where he stands in terms of his position here at Liverpool. For him, it's best to move on and get playing regularly. But that's something he has to decide"

So there you go then! Would you still take Borini?

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EA Sports Player Performance Index…
QPR v Sunderland

Winless QPR face Sunderland, who will be feeling confident following their hard earned draw against Manchester United last week. QPR will be hoping to kick-start their season with a win against Sunderland, but both managers will see this as a winnable game and it could turn out to be an entertaining contest.

QPR may be struggling to pick up points, but one thing they do not lack is pace. Five of their players are among the top 20 speeds recorded in the Premier League so far this season. Armand Traore is the pick of the bunch, clocking in at 34.3kmph, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

In addition to the pace in their side, they possess a hard working core, with Joey Barton being the most hardworking. Barton has covered the 9th most ground in the division, managing 24.37km over the course of his first two games. He remains an important part of Redknapp's QPR side this year and will be expected to put in another shift against Sunderland.

Loic Remy has attempted more crosses and dribbles than any of his teammates, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. With 9 crosses and 11 dribbles so far this season, Remy is the player who poses the biggest threat to Sunderland, making a Remy goal and QPR win 31/10 with 888sport.

Seb Larsson has covered the most ground for Sunderland two weeks running. The 11.83km he covered against Manchester United is the greatest distance any Sunderland player has covered this season as per the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and Larsson's energy has proved to be important so far this season, with Sunderland yet to drop a point.

The quickest Sunderland player so far this season is Connor Wickham. The forward has been recorded running at 33.4kmph according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and he is looking to be a likely starter again this weekend.

New signing Patrick Van Aanholt has made the most defensive contributions in the Sunderland squad so far this season. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows the ex-Chelsea man has made more tackles (7) and more interceptions (8) than anyone else in team, and the Dutchman is likely to continue in his berth on the left hand side of defence this weekend.

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transfer deadline approaches…
we step up our game

Sunderland appear to have taken their hunt for players up a notch with us now being strongly linked with Argentina and Inter Milan forward Ricky Alvarez and Belgian Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld. This is of course in addition to our prolonged interest in Fabio Borini, who will not be able to ignore our pursuit of different players in his position. With just days left in the transfer window, it will take a lot of hard work to get these players over the line.

After a victory at Birmingham, Poyet knows that the team selection in cup competitions is one which the fans take great notice to, and therefore explained this successful team selection: "It wasn't easy to pick the team at Birmingham. I wanted a few players to play, but, at the same time, I didn't want to change too many. I wanted to remain organised and maintain some consistency. But we got no injuries and we won the game, which is the most important thing."

"Roberge was not available on Wednesday and I didn't want to change the whole back four. The most important area for us to keep consistency is at the back. When you make too many changes there, you start conceding goals. The idea was to keep it strong there."

Speaking of Roberge, he could well be on his way to Stade de Reims. Roberge would be yet another casualty of the Italian revolution. This can only be good news for Sunderland, the last thing we need is to lose another centre back, so one would assume that another one is lined up if Roberge was to depart, it is considered very unlikely that Roberge would be allowed to leave if we would end up short in defence. Possibilities? Toby Alderweireld, Virgil van Dijk and whichever of the millions of Chelsea defenders we've been linked to on loan.

Adam Johnson is having to look over his shoulder with the performances of Will Buckley giving him competition for his place in the team, but Johnson has explained this is competition which he relishes: "I think the competition I had at [Manchester] City with people like David Silva was pretty good so that doesn't worry me one bit, to be honest, I think I've had it throughout my career with Stewie Downing [at Middlesbrough] and people like that. It's never really been an issue for me. I think it can bring the best out of players. You have to up your game sometimes and it keeps you out of the comfort zone and stops you getting relaxed. I'm not the sort of player who relaxes anyway but it's always good for individuals and for the team to have competition to freshen things up."

When asked if he was happy for Gus to bring in more strength in depth, Johnson said: "I hope so because we'll need it. It's never going to be the same team every week, especially at a club like Sunderland. We are going to have to change players and use the whole squad but our squad is stronger than it's ever been. Hopefully, we'll get a bit more quality in. Connor (Wickham) hasn't played in his natural position down the middle yet. I'm sure we'll see him there at some point but playing out wide he's doing a good job. I'm sure he would rather be down the middle scoring goals but it's a good option for us. We have a lot of people who can play different positions for us. We have a lot of options, which can only be good."

Jordi Gomez scored against Brum, and he's delighted to get a goal to kick start his Sunderland career: "I'm happy with the goal, but the most important thing was to go through. That goal helped to win the game. I always try to score from those positions if I get a bit of space. We knew it was going to be difficult, especially with the long balls (from Birmingham). But, at the end, we created the chances to score the goals. They made it difficult for us, especially in the first half. But I think we played much better in the second half and, in the end, we deserved to score the goals. We wanted to win on Wednesday to keep unbeaten. We wanted to get through to the next round, but we wanted to get a first win too. I think now there is a good feeling in the team for tomorrow."

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gus promises transfer surprises…
giacch happy to be back

After a 3-0 away win at Birmingham in the Capital One Cup, Gus Poyet reckons with the amount of changes he made to the side, he would have got a load of stick if it had went wrong! Poyet said: "If we had lost the game, you would have killed me because we made six changes! But they're all Premier League players – Jordi Gomez, Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Jozy Altidore, Liam Bridcutt and Adam Johnson. They've been with us for a while and they'll be very important for us. It wasn't easy to pick the team because I wanted a strong team, but we need to be careful training today, and training and travelling tomorrow for QPR on Saturday. It's incredible that we have to play so many games in a short period of time and then we've got two weeks off."

Gus is also happy to have been drawn at home in the next round, only would have been wishing for a team less established than Stoke. Poyet said: "I think it's always better at home. Of course you want a smaller team, but it's not always possible. It will be tough. It's a good tie, it's going to be interesting."

The Uruguayan also promised a few twists and turns in regards to transfers after hinting at more signings: "We're moving, we're moving very fast because it's getting close. I'm confident we'll be doing something. You're going to be surprised." We are of course linked now with Salomon Kalou, Ricky Alvarez, Virgil van Dijk and Toby Alderweireld!

Emanuele Giaccherini was ecstatic to return to the side last night and even more so to have a part in one of the goals. Giacch said: "I recovered in two weeks and five days. They thought I was going to be out for more than three weeks, so I'm happy to be back quickly and to be able to help the team. The injury was bad timing because I'd done the whole of pre-season and I felt really good. For me, to get 10 minutes is important after not playing this season. It's good to be in this position at all and if the manager wants to play me for 10 minutes or 20 minutes, I will try to make a difference. But I'm happy to be back quickly. Now, I just want to stay fit."

"It was a good win last night because this competition is very important for us after getting to the final last year. The first half was not great last night. We passed the ball better in the second half and in the last 20 minutes, we improved a lot after the first goal. Now we can think about Saturday's game at QPR and we hope to get that first (league) win. They've lost three games, but it's still a difficult game. If we can play better though, then we can get that first win."

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post birmingham craic…
REACTION

Sunderland won 3-0 away at Birmingham in the second round of the Capital One cup. Second half goals from Jordi Gomez, Adam Johnson and Connor Wickham sealed the tie after being cancelled out by the Brummies in the first half. Is it a cup run yet?

Despite an eventual 3-0 win, Gus Poyet admitted that we didn't really get into the game until the second half: "It was clear that we didn't start very well, there were plenty of things that we needed to address at half time and we did that and we were much improved in the second half. We were better on the ball and looked much better technically in the second half, I could sense that goals were coming because we were getting in better positions and creating openings. As in most cup ties the first goal changes the game and that happened tonight, the opposition needed to react and they opened up and left gaps and we took advantage of that. The build up to Jordi's [Gomez] goal was very good, the passing was very good and the players pushed right until the end of the game and that's how we went on to get the other goals too."

As for a reaction to the news that we have been drawn against Stoke at home in the third round, Poyet said: "When you get a home tie it's always an advantage. Obviously it will be a tough game as they're a strong side but we're looking forward to hopefully progressing in the competition."

Emanuele Giaccherini made a return from injury tonight, setting up Connor Wickham for our third goal. Giacch was over the moon to get the win: "Tonight we had a very good result because it is not easy come away from home and play in a stadium like this. The first half was not very good for us as we did not play but the second was much better – the last 25 minutes we played very well and we won 3-0. For me I am really happy because when I was injured three weeks ago I thought I would be out for around a month, but I have come back early, played 10 minutes and I feel very well."

Meanwhile Sunderland may have turned their attentions to Solomon Kalou if the Fabio Borini transfer is dead in the water. Kalou is apparently after a second spell in England after leaving Chelsea for Lille a couple of seasons back.

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On the Buses…
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