Sunderland likely to rest goal hero Defoe in Fulham FA Cup replay

Jermain Defoe celebrates his goal against Burnley. Picture by Frank Reid
Jermain Defoe celebrates his goal against Burnley. Picture by Frank Reid
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JERMAIN Defoe is likely to get a breather for Tuesday’s FA Cup fourth round replay at Fulham, despite opening his Sunderland account.

January signing Defoe grabbed his first Sunderland goal in today’s crucial victory over Burnley, as the Black Cats moved four points clear of the drop zone with only their second Premier League victory of the campaign at the Stadium of Light.

Defoe has started each of Sunderland’s three games since arriving from MLS side Toronto FC, but Gus Poyet is conscious of a hectic fortnight, with the Black Cats facing a further four games in the next two weeks.

And that is likely to see Defoe rested at Craven Cottage, although Poyet is understandably pleased to see the England international get off the mark.

“I knew he was going to score,” said Poyet.

“On another day, he could have had another one.

“Scoring the winning goal as a striker is perfect.

“I think now we need to be careful.

“He hasn’t played for a while.

“It’s very good to have Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham with the attitude of coming on and giving you something different.

“That’s something that will give us points.”

Poyet introduced Connor Wickham to the starting XI alongside Defoe and the £8million frontman responded with his fourth goal of the season to break the deadlock.

Wickham was not used as an orthodox strike partner to Defoe, but was relieved of some his defensive duties in an inside forward role.

“We talked about Connor’s position,” added Poyet.

“Coming back to four at the back, the first reaction is for him to work down the side.

“But he got it well and I think the goal will help.

“He was in the right place in the middle where we want him to be.”

Meanwhile, Poyet confirmed that midfielder Lee Cattermole faces two to three weeks on the sidelines with a knee problem after undergoing scans on the injury yesterday.

* Don’t miss Monday’s Sunderland Echo for more reaction and pictures