Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Blow for Cats as Striker Is Sidelined

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Blow for Cats as Striker Is Sidelined

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

Sunderland will be without striker Stephen Elliott as they bid to take pole position in the Premiership promotion race in tonight's Championship trip to Burnley.

With Julio Arca, Mart Poom, Kevin Kyle, Stephen Wright and Mark Lynch already out of the televised game at Turf Moor, joint-top scorer Elliott looks set to join the list of absentees.

Elliott felt a problem in his groin during training on Tuesday and now seems likely to be replaced by Chris Brown.

The game will see Sunderland go up against former assistant manager Steve Cotterill and, while Black Cats boss Mick McCarthy knows his opposite number will be desperate to stop his old club going top of the table for the first time this season, the Yorkshireman does not expect him to be a major factor in the game.

Cotterill had a brief stint at the club during the 2002-03 season. The Burnley boss was Howard Wilkinson's assistant as the one-time England manager tried and failed to stop the Wearsiders' slide into the Football League.

"He'll be desperate to beat us," McCarthy acknowledged, "but the manager's feelings transferring on to the players? I don't think that works. It's about the players. They're the ones who've got to go out and do it."

The Sunderland manager is good friends with his managerial rival and paid tribute to the job he has done at Burnley.

"When I got the (Sunderland) job, before I even went to the press conference I got a call from Steve Cotterill wishing me all the best. I've always got on very well with him.

"He's done a remarkable job at Burnley with a small squad. With that comes a togetherness, provided you don't get injuries and suspensions. Steve's taken (Gary) Cahill from Villa, who is doing very well, and (Peter) Whittingham.

"If maybe five games had been wins as opposed to draws, they'd be looking at the play-offs."

Having made it into the Championship's top two at the weekend, the Sunderland manager is under no illusions that his side will have its work cut out to stay there.

Burnley have built a reputation this season for their miserly defending and caught the eye by beating Liverpool and drawing with Blackburn Rovers at home before their bitter Lancashire rivals dumped them out of the FA Cup in Tuesday's fifth-round replay. …

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