WES BROWN says back-to-back home games provide an opportunity to give Sunderland’s campaign another jump-start.
Sunderland fluffed the chance to build on their Wear-Tyne derby victory over Newcastle United when the nine-man Black Cats succumbed to Hull City on Saturday, to leave Gus Poyet’s side five points adrift of safety.
The Wearsiders now face two tough Stadium of Light encounters, with tonight’s Capital One Cup last 16 tie against a Southampton side unbeaten in eight games, followed by Sunday’s visit of Manchester City.
But Sunderland’s only Premier League success this season came on their own turf, while their performances on Wearside have been more encouraging than displays on the road.
Centre-half Brown, who could make his first competitive start since January 2012 tonight, hopes that home advantage proves to be pivotal after the disappointment of Saturday’s failure at the KC Stadium.
Brown told the Echo: “It was obviously disappointing that we weren’t able to build on the win against Newcastle at Hull.
“But when you get two men sent off that quickly, then it’s obviously difficult.
“Although tonight’s game is in the cup, we’ve now got two home games to try to get something to build on.”
Brown was introduced from the bench at half-time at Hull and was part of a spirited second half display from Poyet’s men, who refused to surrender despite the quick-fire double dismissal of Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena in first half stoppage time.
The former England international says the challenge for Sunderland now is to replicate that level of commitment with a full quota of players on the field.
“The only thing we can really take out of the Hull game is that we showed a bit of character in the second half,” added Brown, who ended a miserable spell on the sidelines against the Tigers.
“We need to take that into tonight’s game with 11 men.
“It was always going to be tough once the two men got sent off.
“But we can take heart from the way we dug in during that second half.”