Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McAteer Ready for Promotion Mission

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McAteer Ready for Promotion Mission

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Jason McAteer last night admitted that he never expected to play in the Nationwide League again but insisted he is relishing the challenge of trying to lead Sunderland to promotion next season.

The 32-year-old, who will feature at Blundell Park this afternoon when the Black Cats continue their pre-season build-up against Grimsby, was injured for much of last term but is determined to play a major role as Mick McCarthy attempts to bring Premiership football back to the Stadium of Light.

McAteer was part of the Blackburn side which won promotion from the First Division two years ago and is hoping that his experience of playing outside the top flight will prove invaluable to the Wearsiders.

And although he would rather be looking ahead to trips to Old Trafford and Anfield next term, the former Liverpool star is determined to ensure the mood in the camp remains positive with just three weeks to go before Sunderland open their campaign at Nottingham Forest.

"We have to be upbeat because this is a challenge," said McAteer, who made his return to action during last weekend's friendly triumph at Durham City.

"Unfortunately the challenge isn't the Premier League but there is not a lot we can do about that.

"I told my mates that I would never play in Division One again when I came up with Blackburn but situations arise. I'm 32 now and I'm never going to win a Premier League title with anyone so winning a cup or a Division One title with Sunderland has become my new ambition.

"You have to look forward and look to the challenges which lie ahead. The main challenge is to get promoted and that is all we are thinking about.

"It's no good to be dwelling on the fact that we won't be playing the big clubs next season - the Manchester Uniteds and Liverpools - we will be playing Wigan. …

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