Confident Cats happy to strike

The reign of new manager Martin O'Neill to date has been characterised by a series of spectacular strikes and Saturday's 2-0 victory over Swansea was a case in point, with Sessegnon opening the scoring with a fine 14th-minute finish before Craig Gardner wrapped up the points five minutes from time with a superb dipping volley.

The Benin international told the Sunderland Echo: "There is a lot of confidence in the team at the moment, which is why we are trying shots like that."

He added: "It was a super strike from Craig because it made sure that we won the game.

"I can't shout about my goal too much because both goals were really good.

"There have been some really good goals recently. Seb Larsson has scored a few and Craig's against Swansea, so I don't know where mine ranks.

"The ball arrived and I took the chance to have a shot. I should have had a second in the second half with my head when it went just wide.

"But I just hope to continue helping us finding the net and winning games."

Sessegnon and midfielders Larsson, Gardner, David Vaughan, Jack Colback and James McClean have all been among the goals in recent weeks to ease the pressure on striker Nicklas Bendtner, who has been the only fit specialist frontman available to O'Neill for much of his spell in charge so far.

Teenager Connor Wickham took over from the Dane after he was accidentally kicked in the face by Swans defender Angel Rangel, a challenge which left him with a broken nose. That could rule him out of Sunday's FA Cup fourth round clash with neighbours Middlesbrough and Norwich's visit to Wearside three days later.

Source: PA

Source: PA