MARTIN O’Neill has declared himself satisfied with Sunderland’s festive points haul, despite admitting they ran out of energy against Liverpool.
With wins over Southampton and Manchester City, the Black Cats enjoyed a decent Christmas and built up a buffer zone between themselves and the relegation places.
It ended on a downbeat note, however, with a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Brendan Rodgers’ rejuvenated Reds, who tore them apart in the New Year fixture this week.
Still, O’Neill (left) reflected on a Christmas that was only damaging in terms of weary limbs and injury niggles.
“Six points from those four games – if you’d have asked me about those before Christmas I’d have taken that. That said, we ran out of energy against Liverpool and maybe after tomorrow, we’ve got a full week to try and improve,” he said.
Chief among O’Neill’s concerns for today’s Bolton clash is Stephane Sessegnon, who injured his ankle and looks set to join John O’Shea among the notable absentees.
“He came off against Liverpool and he’s still a little sore. We’ll see how he is. I hope he’ll feel better and be alright,” he said. “Sessegnon has rocked his ankle.
“He’s had it before, he’s in a bit of pain so there was no point in him continuing (at Liverpool).”
Danny Rose – who is on loan from Tottenham – is another who is doubtful after playing through the pain barrier at Anfield.
O’Neill explained: “They’ll allow him to play in the competition. Obviously if we play them it’s a different thing.
“We all were in yesterday and he’s feeling better than he was before the Liverpool game, so it’s encouraging from that point of view.
“We’ve not got too many options for tomorrow. We’ll have a look at it, I’d love to stay in the competition if at all possible. Our options are somewhat limited at the moment.”