Sunderland star Fletcher up for battle

Steven Fletcher celebrates his goal against Newcastle
Steven Fletcher celebrates his goal against Newcastle
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STEVEN FLETCHER insists Sunderland’s players are well aware that they still face an uphill task to beat the drop.

Gus Poyet’s side transformed the mood on Wearside when they secured a timely first Premier League win of the season against Newcastle United last weekend to move off the basement.

But Sunderland’s situation remains perilous, with the Black Cats still four points adrift of fourth bottom Stoke City ahead of Saturday’s trip to newly-promoted Hull City.

Striker Fletcher hopes derby euphoria proves to be a launch-pad for Sunderland, but realises that Poyet’s men need to put together a run of positive results after taking just four points from the opening nine games.

Fletcher told the Echo: “We’ve still got a long season ahead of us.

“But now we just want to take the momentum from the derby into the next game at Hull.

“We’ve been able to use the boost from Sunday in training this week.

“But we know it’s not one game, we’ve got a lot of matches coming up and we need to take this into the next ones.”

Fletcher completed his first 90 minutes of the season on Sunday in his second game back in the fold since recovering from a dislocated shoulder.

The Scotland international looked to be struggling with his shoulder again on the stroke of half-time after landing heavily.

But Fletcher shrugged off the knock to last the distance, despite being one of several Sunderland players who were tiring through a lack of match fitness during the second half.

“It would have been sore even if I hadn’t done my shoulder because of the way I landed,” added the 26-year-old.

“It was fine, it went away straightaway.

“Even when we were tiring, we knew we had a togetherness in the team and we were pushing each other.

“I was getting tired, but Jozy (Altidore) said to me ‘come on’, and I was doing the same with him.

“That’s what we needed to do and then Fab (Fabio Borini) came on and scored an absolute screamer.”