JUST like Everton the week before them, Fulham will look to end a sequence of draws with Sunderland’s visit to their ground tomorrow.
Everton had had four successive stalemates before returning to winning ways against the Wearsiders and Fulham will hope their three-draw run ends with the Cottagers inflicting a fourth defeat in a row on Sunderland.
But Martin O’Neill believes the Londoners will not find his side pushovers tomorrow.
He said: “I think after Everton, we are going into the Fulham game with plenty of optimism and plenty of confidence and those are very big factors for us.
“Confidence is such an ephemeral thing for a footballer.
“Having been a footballer myself some time ago I know that confidence goes up and down – not only game by game sometimes, but also even minute by minute during games.
“But good players find it from somewhere and I think there were real signs of that against Everton and I’m sure we’ll take that into the game against Fulham.”
O’Neill paid tribute to the job being done by opposite number Martin Jol at Craven Cottage.
“Martin Jol had a very fine season last season but lost two brilliant players over the summer with the departures of Clint Dempsey and Mouasa Dembele,” he reflected.
“When that happens, it’s a matter of covering your losses and he appears to have done that very well because they’ve had a great start to the season.
“They’re in very fine form and the manager has to take credit for that.”
O’Neill is quick to point out though that his job tomorrow will be to bury Jol rather than praise him.
The Sunderland manager believes that 10 games into the season is a good enough amount of football played to be able to assess how the season is shaping up.
And from his own point of view, he believes the verdict on his own side is: must do better.
He said: “We’ve got to the stage where we can see things panning out a little.
“I think we have to acknowledge that the season is skewed for us in the sense that after Sunday we’ll have played four games at home and seven away from home so far.
“But we’re getting to the point where we need to turn some of these defeats into draws and some of these draws into victories.
“What we need is a win or two.
“The matches are difficult and it has been a strange old season so far because of that imbalance between away and home games but we will turn it around.
“The flair players look to be getting a spark to them again and that’s one of the things that will turn it around for us.”