Sunderland stars up for furious fortnight

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley
Sunderland's Phil Bardsley
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PHIL BARDSLEY insists Sunderland are happy to face another hectic fortnight after their transformation under Gus Poyet.

Today’s visit of Southampton is the first of five games inside 14 days for Sunderland, with the Black Cats heading to Manchester United on Wednesday for the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg, followed by next weekend’s FA Cup fourth round clash against non-league Kidderminster.

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley

Four days later, Stoke City visit the Stadium of Light before Sunderland travel to St James’s Park in a fortnight looking for a third successive derby victory over Newcastle United.

But with Sunderland’s performances and results improving, full-back Bardsley says the players are happy for a constant run of games.

“When you’re playing well, you want the games all the time - thick and fast,” said Bardsley.

“There’s another busy schedule ahead of us with three games this week, then Stoke and then the derby.

“It’s a difficult run, but one we’re capable of winning every game.

“With the spirit we’re showing and the performances, I think we’re only going to get better.”

The 28-year-old added: “We’re trying to play the right way. The manager has brought in his methods and it’s nice to see everyone trying to make it work.

“The fans are doing that too. It’s not been easy for them, they’ve had a lot of managers in recent years all playing different formations and stuff.

“But the way the manager wants to play now is quite unique and I think everyone is enjoying it.”

Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final will see almost 9,000 Sunderland fans descend on Old Trafford, as the Black Cats bid to reach their first major cup final since 1992.

And after securing a 2-1 first leg over his former club, Bardsley says Sunderland have a real chance of knocking out a Manchester United side firmly in the midst of transition.

“We’re in front in the two legs and we’ll go there and enjoy it, try to express ourselves the way we can do,” said Bardsley.

“There’s nothing to fear at Old Trafford any more I don’t think.

“There’ll be all the pressure on them to get through because they’re expected to be in the final.”