Sunderland boss reveals key role Paddy McNair plays and what he’ll tell players ahead of Sheff Wed

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman celebrates Friday's win at Derby. Picture by Frank Reid
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman celebrates Friday's win at Derby. Picture by Frank Reid
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Chris Coleman believes Sunderland are a different beast with Paddy McNair in the team, with the Black Cats boss hoping he can call upon him again today.

Sunderland host Sheffield Wednesday at the Stadium of Light (KO 3pm) looking to build on the Good Friday 4-1 demolition of Derby County.

Paddy McNair

Paddy McNair

Sunderland are five points from safety in the Championship, with Coleman targeting back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

And he hopes to be able to name McNair in the starting line-up again.

Following his return from a serious knee injury, the Northern Ireland midfielder has been restricted to just 10 appearances this campaign due to groin problems.

Coleman hopes that two starts in four days won’t prove too much for the midfielder.

“It will depend on his recovery,” said the former Wales boss.

“He lasted longer than we expected against Derby, but it will depend how he is.

“He has been a big loss this season.

“You know what this league is like – if you are strong and physical and have a bit about you, you have a good chance.

“Paddy is a bit more than that.

“When he is in the team, we are different.

“He has those legs and can get up and down the pitch.

“When he is out of the team, it is tough.

“We will have to see how he recovers before Monday.”

Coleman admitted, in the aftermath of the victory over Derby, that he may have to tinker with his starting line-up, given the intensity of the Easter programme.

But he hopes that having two matches in quick succession will help the Black Cats build some much-needed momentum heading into the final seven games.

“I think it could help playing so quickly,” added Coleman.

“When you play two games at this stage of the season in such close proximity, two games in four days, fatigue could play a part.

“That will be in my thinking in terms of who starts.

“There is always mistakes in that second game.

“It is like the Christmas period, there are always mistakes.

“We just have to make sure our mentality is spot on, be dogged and play without the fear.

“We played without any fear against Derby.

“It has to be the same against Sheffield Wednesday.

“We have a really good opportunity to put more pressure on the teams above us.

“That is what it is about.

“I won’t talk to the players about the points, I will talk to them about making a fist of it, making a fight of where we are.

“We have to do that, simple as that.”