FLU-HIT Seb Larsson is hoping to shake off illness and help Sunderland come in from the cold at Newcastle United tomorrow.
The Swede has been under the weather this week, and Black cats boss Martin O’Neill is keeping his fingers crossed he can make a full recovery before the big derby game.
But even if the winger is not 100 per cent, O’Neill is expected to ask the player to give the team whatever he can, just as he did in the New Year’s Day game against Manchester City when he was similarly stricken.
Larsson had complained of feeling unwell before Sweden’s game against Croatia in midweek, but scored two goals when he was brought on in the second half and O’Neill would love him to make such an impact tomorrow.
The deadball specialist hasn’t netted for the Black Cats since O’Neill’s first game in charge against Blackburn on December 11, but O’Neill believes that Larsson remains a potent threat no matter how teams look to deal with him.
“I don’t believe that teams are going into games with special plans to stop Seb,” said the Sunderland boss.
“Yes, they might warn against giving away free-kicks around the area, but we all do that regardless of who is playing.
“He remains someone who is very dangerous on set-pieces, his delivery for corners is excellent and he carries a goal threat from free-kicks.
“So he’s a very important player for us, and someone we’re grateful to be able to include in the side.”
SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story