Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Hopes Win Will Prove Launchpad

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Hopes Win Will Prove Launchpad

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Mick McCarthy has challenged Sunderland to use the 4-0 win at Gillingham as their springboard for a promotion push following a previously slow start to the season.

The Black Cats' boss admitted his side had failed to show their promotion credentials before the weekend, but claimed he had seen the signs of a recovery even before Marcus Stewart's hat-trick inspired them to a first away win of the season.

And, just as a similar thrashing of Bradford City last year proved to be the catalyst for an excellent run of results in his first full season in charge, the Yorkshireman is confident the same will prove to be true of Saturday's superb win.

He said: "We needed a starting point for our season and hopefully Gillingham will be it. We had a similar result at Bradford last season when results hadn't been going our way, so I obviously hope we get a similar effect this time.

"I don't think there is any question that we've been a little off the pace so far. I think, to be guaranteed to be part of the promotion shake-up, you need to get an average of two points a game.

"We're not on that pace at the moment, but equally we'll get a better barometer of how well we're doing at Christmas and, of course, it only really matters when the season ends.

"I thought we had played well at Reading in our last game, but didn't get anything from it. Now we've had a good result and we've got two home games in a row. If we can get maximum points from those, I think we will be back on course.

"Nottingham Forest will come here happy to get a point, even if they are still looking for their first win of the season, but we got used to playing against teams like that last season. We've got some confidence from our win at Gillingham, but at the same time we cannot get too carried away. We've got to make sure we carry it on and that starts against Forest."

Ironically, Sunderland's best result of the season came on the day that McCarthy learned that Kevin Kyle, the focal point of the Black Cats' attack, is almost certainly going to need an operation on his troublesome hip.

The Scottish international has carried the problem all season but, having held off from sending him for surgery, the Sunderland medical team are close to accepting defeat in their quest to keep him out of the operating theatre. …

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