O’Neill: I’ll need to strengthen

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MARTIN O’Neill admitted he’ll be looking to move into the transfer market in January after his side’s limited resources were stretched to the limit at Old Trafford yesterday, writes Graeme Anderson.

Danny Rose did not pass a fitness test before the game against Manchester United and joined Phil Bardsley, Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown on the injured list.

While both striker Steven Fletcher and winger Adam Johnson failed to finish yesterday’s game – Fletcher forced off with a back injury; Johnson still struggling with the dead leg sustained earlier in the Reading game earlier in the week.

“We will have to look to strengthen in the second half of the season,” he admitted.

“You only have to look at the back of the programme to see that we don’t have any real numerical strength, as much as anything else.

“You are going to have injuries and suspensions as the season goes on and you have to manage them as best as possible.

“But, yes, we will look at things afresh in January.”

Sunderland were outclassed in the first hour against Manchester United but came back into it as the game wore on and could take heart from the way they played in the last half-hour which also saw Fraizer Campbell grab a consolation goal.

“I was very encouraged by the second-half performance,” said O’Neill.

“We’ve got a tough Christmas programme ahead of us and a big game against Southampton next week which will be an important battle for us.

“But, yeah, I feel there’s still a decent spirit in us and we can keep our confidence up.

“We were found lacking sometimes in the game, but we showed the right spirit in the second half and I don’t think that spirit has been broken.

“The win over Reading earlier in the week gave us confidence and we can take some encouragement from the way we played in that last half-hour against Manchester United and what’s important is that we take as much confidence as we can into our next game.”

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