Box-to-box midfielder signing vital for Poyet

Gus Poyet watches his Sunderland side against Nacional last night
Gus Poyet watches his Sunderland side against Nacional last night
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GUS POYET wants a new box-to-box midfielder to be among the arrivals at the Stadium of Light before the transfer deadline.

Sunderland lost the services of three players in the middle of the park at the end of last season after Craig Gardner and Jack Colback departed on free transfers, while Ki Sung-Yueng’s loan deal expired.

The Black Cats have subsequently signed Jordi Gomez on a Bosman, while there is a slight chance that Alfred N’Diaye could still have a future at the club.

But Poyet still wants a high-energy midfielder capable of scoring goals, with in-demand Manchester City man Jack Rodwell thought to be one of Sunderland’s top targets.

“I think we are alright in front of the back four with Liam (Bridcutt) and Lee (Cattermole),” said Poyet.

“We are looking for a box-to-box midfielder who can give us some goals.

“That’s not an easy one. Midfielders who are scoring goals are quite expensive.”

Cattermole was an injury worry during last night’s 1-0 defeat to Portugese outfit CD Nacional after limping off on the hour mark with an ankle injury.

But Poyet said Cattermole’s withdrawal was just a precaution, as was the removal of Billy Jones at half-time, with the ex-West Brom man having been receiving treatment from the club’s medical staff over the last few days.

“Lee got a stamp on his ankle and twisted it a little,” said Poyet.

“We put some strapping on it at half-time and it got worse and worse. It’s not really a worry.

“Billy has had a worry in the last few days with tight legs, so 45 minutes was enough for him.”

While Cattermole and Jones were withdrawn, Poyet saw six members of his starting XI complete the entire game for the first time during pre-season.

The head coach was also encouraged by the performance for large portions of the game, despite Sunderland’s 100 per cent record in their friendly programme coming to an end.

“When you are a team who tries to control the game in the way we did in the first half you need that extra bit in the final third to open it up,” added Poyet.

“The players in the first half did their best, the movement and passing on a difficult pitch was great. I was delighted at half-time.

“I knew it would be difficult to maintain that level in the first half. But all the players available played.

“I thought for 60 minutes we looked a very decent group.”

Meanwhile, Seb Larsson has flown back to the UK and missed last night’s game, with his wife due to have a baby.