Rowell: Catts is key to Sunderland

Lee Cattermole
Lee Cattermole
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SUNDERLAND can have no complaints after their Capital One Cup hopes for this season ended on Tuesday. Gus Poyet made changes and gave some of his squad players a run-out, with the challenge of staking a claim for Premier League starts.

But the result and the performance was under-par, even though Sunderland took the lead thanks to a well-taken goal from Jozy Altidore.

I thought they would build on the momentum of that early goal, but the opposite happened, and Sunderland allowed Stoke to get back into the game far too easily.

I don’t think that would have happened if Lee Cattermole was playing, but he was rested for the night, and Sunderland missed his energy and drive.

His omission under-lined how important he is to the team.

A competition which was so memorable – and created great memories for the fans last season – ended with a whimper this time around, leaving Sunderland with only Premier League games until the FA Cup gets under way in January.