Luke O'Nien wants to recreate this 'special' Sunderland moment against Bolton Wanderers
Luke O’Nien has urged Sunderland’s supporters to recreate the ‘special’ scenes from last year’s Boxing Day fixture when Bolton Wanderers visit the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats won 1-0 against Bradford City on December 26 last season, and were roared on by a record-breaking third tier crowd of 46,039.
And while such a hefty attendance may not be on the cards against Wanderers, O’Nien has called for fans to produce another ‘special day’ on Wearside.
“Last year, I remember it quite fondly, we had 46,000 fans and it was a special day,” he said.
“We used that to our advantage when we played Bradford and I think this Boxing Day is going to be much of the same.
“We’ll have a good crowd, people will be in good spirits from Christmas and it’s a good game to have.”
Sunderland’s festive fixture pits them against a side currently sat bottom of the third tier, but O’Nien is under no illusions as to the test a resurgent Bolton will pose – and is keen not to underestimate a side whom the Black Cats laboured to a draw against earlier this term.
“I know we’ve played Bolton before, they’re a good team and you can’t underestimate any team in this league.
“We’ll be doing our homework, we’ll be working hard and we’ll be ready for when the referee blows his whistle.”
The clash will also be Sunderland’s first since December 14 – in a gap which O’Nien feels could be a benefit.
“Everyone is different,” he admitted.
“I like rhythm, getting into a lot of games and your Saturday-Tuesday.
“We have a lot of games though and you don’t really get a break in football, so when you do get one you’ve got to maximise it and use it to rest the mind and the body.
“Then when you come back, you’ve got to be ready to go.
“It could benefit us towards the end of the season when we’ve had a few breaks here and there with the fixtures.
“The festive period usually has loads of fixtures, so it could come to benefit us. We’ll see on Boxing Day.”