Luke O'Nien explains what Sunderland have been working on to combat Millwall threat

Luke O’Nien says Sunderland’s squad were completely focused on football during their mid-season training camp in Dubai – where plans were put in place to prepare for this weekend’s fixture against Millwall.

The Black Cats spent a week away during the Championship’s World Cup break, and have continued their training on Wearside over the last few days.

Tony Mowbray’s side played one friendly match against Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab FC during their time in Dubai, while making sure the squad is ready for the second half of a congested campaign.

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“First and foremost our whole concentration has been on football and we’ve had to come here and go back in a better condition than when we came,” O’Nien told the club’s website at the end of their training camp.

Luke O’Nien playing for Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

“I think we all had a good bit of time off before we came out here, nice time with the family, a relax, a reset. Here this week has all been about building fitness, building strength, building focus because we’ve had a real good start to the season.

“We had an important win just before the break and now it’s about making sure that we come back and as a group we know we have a lot more in us.

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“It’s about making sure that we build, which I think we have, and then turning up the volume again and making sure that when we play Millwall we are ready for that game and the rest of the season."

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Sunderland will have to be wary of Millwall’s threat from set-pieces, as Gary Rowatt’s side have already scored five goals from corners this season.

It’s something that Sunderland are aware of and will have to deal with at the Stadium of Light.

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“The gaffer has kept reiterating why we were out here,” O’Nien added. “The focus on what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to achieve from it all which is important.

“Even when we were doing set-pieces in the game, they were like ‘listen, we have one eye on today’s game and one eye on the game at the weekend coming up.’

“All focus has been on making sure that we come back to England better all round, better people, better fitness, tactical all of it and I feel like we’ve achieved that.”