Lee Cattermole thrilled with the impressive return of Wahbi Khazri ahead of crucial six-match survival run-in

Wahbi Khazri fights for Sunderland in Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Ham. Picture by Frank Reid
Wahbi Khazri fights for Sunderland in Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Ham. Picture by Frank Reid
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Wahbi Khazri’s impressive return to first-team action can be a catalyst for Sunderland in the final six games of the fight for Premier League survival, believes Lee Cattermole.

Tunisian Khazri started his first league game since the defeat to Arsenal in October, impressing throughout against West Ham, scoring a goal and proving to be a constant thorn in the Hammers’ side in Saturday’s 2-2 draw.

Cattermole, thrilled to see Khazri make an impact, said: “Behind the scenes, the feeling in the dressing room before the game was good. We had a couple of changes in the team, and that gave everyone a lift.

“It was nice to have Wahbi out there with us. He’s a great lad, and he’s worked really hard.

“Without taking it the wrong way, it shows it doesn’t matter what he looks like. I carry a bit (of weight) as well.

“He hasn’t played, and he’s going to get fitter, but he’s played 90-odd minutes there for the first time in a long time and that’s real credit to him.”

Sunderland cut the gap to fourth-bottom Hull City to nine points – with a game in hand – with the point against West Ham, as the Tigers lost 3-1 at Stoke.

But the deficit could be up to 12 points by the time Sunderland play again.

Hull host Watford this Saturday and will be confident of extending their recent good home form, while Sunderland have to wait until Wednesday, April 26 for their trip to Middlesbrough.