Sunderland’s Vaughan’s homing in on winter thrill

Sunderland's David Vaughan.
Sunderland's David Vaughan.
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DAVID Vaughan wants to see Sunderland fans walking in a winter wonderland at the Stadium of Light as regular football returns to Wearside.

The Black Cats have played only four of their 11 Premier League games at home this season.

But that imbalance will be corrected by the end of the year, with six of Sunderland’s remaining nine games of 2012 played on home soil.

Four of the next five games are at home and with the first anniversary of Martin O’Neill’s appointment at Sunderland fast approaching, Vaughan would love to see the Black Cats go on the sort of scorching run which marked the Irishman’s arrival.

He said: “We’ve had two tough away games against Fulham and Everton in the last couple of weeks, and that’s on top of a lot of away games we’ve played this season.

“Now we’ve got a bit of run of games at home and it’s up to us to capitalise.

“If we can win our next couple of games and get some momentum going, we can start climbing that league table.”

In-form West Bromwich Albion are at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, quickly followed by strugglers QPR on Tuesday.

The four remaining home games will see Chelsea and Reading the visitors in early December, with Manchester City and Spurs arriving in the last week of the year.

Vaughan wants Sunderland to go into all their home games with the intention of getting three points.

“We went on a great run in December last season when the new manager came in and it set us off,” he noted.

“There are a lot of games coming up next month and we need to put together another good set of results.

“We’re finding a bit of form now and there’s no reason why we can’t get a decent points return in the weeks ahead, especially with plenty of games at home.”

There will be a little less pressure on the shoulders of Sunderland’s players this weekend after a fine 3-1 win at Fulham – Sunderland’s first away league success this season – eased the club away from the relegation zone.

And Vaughan, who came on as a substitute for Jack Colback in the 80th minute at Craven Cottage, acknowledged: “It was a massive result for us on Sunday. We thoroughly deserved the three points after our second-half performance.

“There has been something lacking recently, but hopefully we have now turned the corner and we can go on from here.

“It’s going to be a tough game because West Brom are flying high at the moment and they’ll be full of confidence after beating Chelsea.

“They’ve had a great start to the season and they won’t be fearing anyone at the moment.

“But it is down to us to concentrate on what we can do and try to hurt them and get the three points.”

Vaughan is gradually regaining full match fitness after missing the start of the season following surgery on a trapped nerve in his stomach.

Although he has started a couple of games in the Capital One Cup, the Welshman has yet to start in the league, despite making half-a-dozen appearances from the bench.

On Monday, the 29-year-old volunteered to play as an over-age player in Sunderland U21s’ derby against Newcastle, getting another 90 minutes under his belt.

And he says all he needs now is an extended first-team run to get back up to speed.

“Derbies are always competitive, even at Under-21 level, so it was a good game for me and the 90 minutes will be good for my fitness levels,” said the ex-Blackpool midfielder.

“I know it’s still a big jump going from the U21s to first-team level, though.

“There have been a few games when I’ve come on for the final 20 minutes or so, but by then sometimes the teams can be tiring a bit and the tempo is not quite the same as when you play the whole match.

“But I’m definitely close to full fitness and I just need a run of first-team games now to get back into form.”