Sunderland boss urges Altidore to build on cup goal

Jozy Altidore in action against Manchester United.

Jozy Altidore in action against Manchester United.

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JOZY ALTIDORE needs to bottle the feeling from ending his 10-month goal drought and continue to get among the goals for Sunderland, says Gus Poyet.

Altidore ended a miserable wait to find the back of the net in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup defeat to Stoke City after scoring for the first time since December’s Premier League clash against Chelsea.

The American international is keen to put his maiden campaign at Sunderland behind him – where he netted just one top-flight goal following a £7million move from AZ Alkmaar – and prove he can make the grade in the Premier League this season.

And Black Cats boss Poyet believes scoring so early in the campaign was crucial towards Altidore’s hopes of putting last season’s worries behind him.

Poyet told the Echo: “It was important for Jozy for obvious reasons. Every striker needs goals.

“He needed to take away that horrible feeling that you cannot score goals.

“(Last season) He did things quite well, but he still wasn’t scoring. He went to rebounds and he couldn’t put it from three yards.

“Then he would have good shots, but it would hit someone.

“It needed to happen, so it was a key moment for him.

“He needs to maintain that now; he cannot stop.

“Now that he has scored, I think that feeling is going to be great for him, so it should be easier.”

Altidore’s two starts this season have both come in the Capital One Cup, but he could be retained in the starting XI for today’s visit of Swansea.

Fellow strikers Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher both missed the midweek cup clash with back and calf problems respectively; joining Emanuele Giaccherini and Wes Brown on the treatment table.

Poyet was coy over which of those quartet would be fit to face Swansea.

But the head coach hinted that the problems involved the two frontmen, which would hand Altidore his opportunity to impress.

“Without giving too much information away, we’ve got a few issues with a few players fitness-wise,” added Poyet.

“There are a few that haven’t trained as much as we would like.

“Picking the team is going to be made easier for me, I would think.”

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