Buckley expects rotation of Sunderland widemen

Will Buckley
Will Buckley
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WILL BUCKLEY rightfully harbours the ambition to become a fixture in Sunderland’s line-up.

After starting six of Sunderland’s 11 Premier League games so far this season, the summer signing is not doing too badly in fulfilling that objective.

However, Buckley realises that rotation may be an inevitable ingredient in Gus Poyet’s blueprint when it comes to Sunderland’s widemen.

Poyet is yet to name an unchanged line-up in the Premier League this season and with Lee Cattermole back from suspension, that run is unlikely to change at Leicester City today.

But with the host of options Poyet is blessed with on the flanks, that area has been the one subject to the greatest tinkering – Buckley, Connor Wickham, Adam Johnson, Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez all dropping in and out of the starting XI.

Buckley, relegated to the bench for Sunderland’s draw against Everton prior to the international break, expects Poyet to continue with that rotation policy, depending on the nature of the opposition.

The former Brighton man told the Echo: “I think it’s good for the manager, although probably not as good for the players, when you’re being changed.

“But you’ve got to expect that coming to a top Premier League club.

“All we can do is be at our best and then it’s up to the manager to decide who plays which games.

“I think he’s done that already this season and will continue to do that.

“Different players are suited for different games.

“I made myself a regular starter at Brighton and that’s what I want to do here.

“It’s difficult, but everyone wants to make that step.

“When you’re coming to a new club, you want to show everyone what they’ve brought and what you can bring.

“By doing that, you get regular starts.

“Hopefully, I can have many more this season.”

The lack of continuity in personnel has been mirrored by the stop-start nature of the opening three months of the campaign itself, with the Premier League resuming today after a third two-week international break.

Buckley admits that schedule has not been ideal, although Sunderland now face a hectic programme ahead of them, with the Euro 2016 qualifiers not resuming until March.

He said: “It’s been stop-start all the way through this season. You play four games and then have an international break.

“It’s a strange one.

“But we kept training hard so you just have to keep ticking over and getting ready for the next game.

“This time we were coming off two good results and you want to keep it going.

“The breaks are obviously needed for the qualifiers, but we can’t complain, it’s the same for everyone.”

Buckley will come up against a familiar face on Sunderland’s return to top-flight action, with former Brighton team-mate Leonardo Ulloa leading the line for Leicester today.

Ulloa averaged almost a goal every other game for the Seagulls in the Championship and despite drawing a blank in his last six outings for Leicester, he netted five times in his first five appearances for the Foxes, following his £8million summer move from the South Coast.

“I’m good friends with Leonardo Ulloa,” added Buckley.

“He had a great start and hopefully won’t be doing too well today.

“Right from when we signed him at Brighton, he showed he could play at the next level.

“Now he’s shown he can score goals at this level.

“We need to keep him in check and hopefully we can build on two good results.”