Sunderland boss O’Neill eyes unique hat-trick at Old Trafford

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MARTIN O’Neill heads to Old Trafford tomorrow as the only manager to win there with two different clubs in the Premier League, writes Graeme Anderson.

The Sunderland manager has won there with Leicester City and Aston Villa and tomorrow he would love to become the first man to win with three separate clubs.

But he says United’s formidable home record makes a victory for any visitor one of the most difficult challenges in football.

He said: “I had no idea of that statistic until I was informed of it this morning.

“I didn’t know that I am the only manager to have beaten them with two different clubs but I honestly don’t read too much into that – I’m not playing!

“I’m not one to read too much into past history anyway.

“I don’t think the outcome of our games last season will have too much bearing on tomorrow for example.

“I know the scorelines were quite narrow in those two games but I don’t think that really means a great deal.”

O’Neill does hope though that Sunderland can give a good account of themselves after being given a massive lift by their win over Reading on Tuesday.

He said: “It was a good boost for confidence.

“The win was excellent for us and I think deserved because overall it was a very good performance.

“The early goal was very important because recently at the Stadium of Light we’ve been chasing games, finding ourselves behind and then giving away a soft penalty or soft goal and it has been tough for us.

“But scoring the first goal allowed us to get confidence and build and also disrupted Reading.

“And we come out of the game feeling a lot better for it and for the win.

“Hopefully we can take some of that into the United game.

“I think we can go and play with a bit of a freedom when we go there.

“I don’t think that I subscribe too much to the argument that we’ve got nothing to lose.

“But I hope creatively we can express ourselves.”

O’Neill had no update on injuries this morning, saying he would see after training how injury-doubts like Adam Johnson, Danny Rose and Phil Bardsley come through.