Wise Men Say: Cattermole’s return gives Sunderland hope

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I’m sick of seeing the words ‘must win’.

Sunderland are staring at another run of games from which they’d be hoping to take a fair few points.

West Brom, Manchester United, Hull and Aston Villa presents the chance to take at least seven points.

Anything less than that and we should be disappointed.

But how many times have we seen this before?

Gus Poyet has bemoaned it, the fans have bemoaned it, the players have beaconed it; typical Sunderland.

Every time the opportunity comes to build on something we tend to throw it away.

On this occasion, we’re off the back of two terrible results that are embarrassing in their own special ways.

QPR take their first points away from home against us, then to top it off we go and lose to a division three side.

You can’t get any more typical than that.

However, there is some hope.

Poyet said himself recently that when Sunderland relax, they are awful.

They certainly won’t be able to relax on Saturday.

West Ham were one of the best organised sides I’ve seen at the Stadium of Light this year.

I watched them dismantled by a resurgent West Brom side in the FA Cup last week and started to worry.

If there’s a manager who knows how to get results in tough games, it’s Tony Pulis.

I guess one positive is that Brown Ideye started his resurgence a few weeks ago. Usually such runs begin against Sunderland and end shortly afterwards.

It makes me believe there’s not an out-of-form striker in the Premier League who won’t clutch the fixture list, frantically looking for their fixture against the Black Cats.

On the other hand, Sunderland seem to be quite good under pressure.

Look at the run in last season and the cup run.

The team found a way to win this massive games. It was the same with Burnley a few weeks back.

Since then we seem to have taken the foot off the gas again. As a result, we’ve been awful.

Hopefully, Lee Cattermole and Jermain Defoe will be back.

We’ve been without Cattermole for nearly two months now and boy does it show.

He is the heart and soul of this side.

With him in it, every other player has a little bit more about them.

He may not have the arm band, but he’s a leader by example.

I can’t wait to see him back in red and white.

I’d hope the set up would be similar to the Burnley win.

The ‘Poyet way’ in principle, but higher up the pitch.

Connor Wickham looked back to his abject worst at Bradford when he came off the bench.

Having said that, he’s probably the best option we have to play in that outside left role in support of Defoe.

Whoever takes the field this weekend, they’ll need to show the application and desire that was lacking in abundance at Valley Parade.

Let’s hope for three points and a much more pleasant week than last.

GARETH BARKER

The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Gus Poyet. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes.