DCSIMG

Fletcher coy over goal target

DOUBLING UP ... 
Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring the second goal for Sunderland.

DOUBLING UP ... Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring the second goal for Sunderland.

  • by CHRIS YOUNG
 

STEVEN Fletcher is keeping quiet on his revised goals target after fulfilling his primary objective this season of hitting double figures.

Fletcher notched his ninth and 10th goals of the campaign in Saturday’s 3-2 victory at Wigan Athletic to move Sunderland to within a point of the top half of the Premier League table.

The Scotland international originally earmarked double figures for his first year at the Stadium of Light after his £12m summer move, with an ideal scenario of bettering last season’s tally of 12 at relegated Wolves.

But after a predatory first-half double, Sunderland’s top scorer has re-set his sights – although Fletcher is not making public his ambitions for the remainder of the campaign.

He said: “I had a target of getting into double figures, and I’ve managed to do that.

“Any more are a bonus, and I’ll be happy. I’m not saying how many I want though!

“I was particularly happy with the second one, but it was just good to get on the scoresheet.”

Fletcher’s goals topped an impressive first-half turnaround from Martin O’Neill’s men after they found themselves behind within the opening four minutes when David Vaughan prodded the ball into his own net.

But Craig Gardner’s penalty, coupled with Fletcher’s brace, gave Sunderland what appeared to be a healthy half-time lead.

Wigan showed fresh vitality after the break though, with substitute Angelo Hernandez’s late header prompting a nervy finale for the visitors.

“It was a great three points for us and a good effort from the boys to come back,” said Fletcher, who took his personal record against Wigan to six goals in seven games.

“It wasn’t the greatest of starts from us, and I thought it was going to be one of those days when the early goal went in.

“But we managed to come back, get the equaliser and then get ahead in the game as well which was good.

“It gave us a boost when we went on and got another goal. We played well.

“Wigan had a lot of the ball in the second half.

“But we managed to hold on for the three points which was the most important thing.

“We’ve moved up quite a lot in the table with this win, and if we can maintain this form then we’ll be alright.

“You need to win the games against the teams in or around you, and that’s what we’ve managed to do.”

Fletcher singled out full debutant Alfred N’Diaye for particular praise, with the France Under-21 international providing the assist for the striker’s first goal and handing Sunderland some much-needed muscle in the middle of the park.

“N’Diaye was impressive, he had a good debut,” added Fletcher.

“He’s been playing well for us in training, and if he can keep that going, it will be good for us.”

 

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