May 19 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Sunderland’s strikeforce has commanded more of Chris Hughton’s attention this week than his own frontmen.
Norwich City’s relative lack of end product in recent weeks has inevitably turned the spotlight on Grant Holt and the rest of the club’s forward unit. Hughton insists he detects no signs of fragile confidence despite a fresh blank in last weekend’s Southampton stalemate capped by Holt’s stoppage time penalty miss.
“The feeling I get from our strikers is that isn’t the case. Seeing them as individuals and within training and how they have coped with some of the changes we have made they are in good form within themselves right now,” he said. “I think whoever has to do the job will always aim to do it to the best of their ability but for as much as they want to score what is far more important is the team and the result.
“Certainly if there is a person you would want on that penalty then it is Grant. If anything he has probably lacked match practice because it is our first league penalty this season. It was one of those things. The keeper made a good save, but we also had one or two other good chances.”
Sunderland’s top marksman Steven Fletcher took his Premier League tally for the Black Cats to 11 goals with last weekend’s opener at QPR. Hughton saw enough in Norwich’s 2-1 Carrow Road league win earlier this season to know Fletcher is not the sole threat.
“I thought we were a lot better than them in the first half. We started the game at a good tempo and of course went in with the lead we deserved,” said Hughton.
“They were very good second half but I think what they have got is energy in the team. The likes of (Craig) Gardner on that particular day was impressive and they have a lot of pace in wide areas. (Stephane) Sessegnon is a very good player, either operating off the front or that right-hand side. They have a lot of attacking options. (Danny) Graham of course going there in January gives them another one. It is not just about Fletcher.
“Players like Sessegnon and (Adam) Johnson are important. They certainly carry an offensive danger. We have often spoken about defending well in a good percentage of our games. Well, we are going to have to do that, but have a threat.”