Sunderland vs Stoke preview - Poyet hits out at Hughes

Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014 by PA

Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet has hit out at Stoke over their courtship of Lee Cattermole and Steven Fletcher on the eve of the Barclays Premier League clash between the two clubs.

The sides meet at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday with the Uruguayan, who refused to be drawn into a war of words with predecessor Paolo Di Canio, baring his teeth at the Potters.

Poyet said: "I am pleased that in the local newspaper, we didn't throw any rumours about us being interested in any Stoke player, because that's what they have done for the last week.

"No-one from Stoke, directors or anyone from them, has made any formal approach or any offer, so for them to be linked with two very important players for us before the game is a little bit disappointing."

City boss Mark Hughes has been linked with a move for Cattermole for several weeks, but admitted over the weekend that the Black Cats' progression to the Capital One Cup final made that unlikely.

Poyet said: "He (Hughes) didn't call me. Some people would say the manager normally would call to say when they want a player of the other team.

"But he didn't call me, of that I can assure you."

Cattermole's future has been thrown into doubt by Sunderland's interest in Brighton midfielder Liam Bridcutt, who finds himself in limbo after having a transfer request refused.

The Black Cats' offers for Bridcutt and winger Will Buckley remain on the table with three days of the transfer window remaining, and progress on that front could yet prompt a change in their stance.

However, Poyet, who revealed he is "very, very close" to landing Internacional's Argentinian striker Ignacio Scocco, has no intention of allowing matters to run into the final hours before Friday's 11pm deadline.

Asked if there would be a cut-off point, the former Brighton boss said: "It probably would be Thursday. I am not going to put a time-frame on it, but I would like not to be here on Friday."

Poyet was taking a more diplomatic line, however, when asked about Di Canio's weekend broadside, in which he branded the club "weak" and some of its players "cowards", and insisted Sunderland were no better off now than they day he was relieved of his duties, prompting a dismissive statement from the Stadium of Light hierarchy.

His successor said: "I think the club was spot-on with its statement and I will maintain that. We will go with the club and the players have been respecting that as well. It's the best way for us.

"Me, I am very critical with myself and I analyse myself first. Every game after winning or losing, I check myself, what I did well, what I didn't do well under my understanding of football, whether the players reacted to what I said or not.

"I am just trying to keep improving and to keep getting better, not only as a team, but me as a manager as well.

"That's the best way for us to make sure we get to the situation that we want at the end of the season, which is being in the Barclays Premier League."

Poyet is likely to restore most of his big names against Stoke having made 10 changes for Saturday's 1-0 FA Cup victory over Kidderminster.

Peter Odemwingie is keen to show he is still capable of being a regular goalscorer in the Premier League at new club Stoke.

The Potters have signed the 32-year-old from Cardiff as part of a player-exchange deal that sees fellow striker Kenwyne Jones moving in the opposite direction.

And Odemwingie could make his debut at Sunderland.

Regarding what he might deliver for his new club, Odemwingie told Stoke Player: "Maybe in the past few months I didn't get too many goalscoring opportunities, but I am sure that will change here at Stoke.

"One of my strongest qualities is being able to put the ball into the back of the net, with either my right foot or my left foot, and I intend on doing that regularly here.

"I like to get myself into good positions on the field whereby I can get opportunities, and I know that with the quality of players here at the club, there will be days where we do create a lot of chances to score the goals.

"I am sure that the manager (Hughes) and his staff know about me and I am certain they will use me to my strengths.

"They are very knowledgeable people and they must feel that I can bring something different. That gives me a lot of confidence and belief in myself."

Captain Ryan Shawcross is expected to play with protection on a fractured wrist while fellow defender Erik Pieters should be fit.



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