Sunderland’s Louis Saha: Squad will cope with skipper’s absence

Louis Saha
Louis Saha

LOUIS Saha believes Sunderland have the resources to cope with Lee Cattermole’s absence, despite acknowledging the banned skipper will be a “big miss”.

Cattermole begins his three-game suspension against Wigan tomorrow after receiving the fifth red card of his Sunderland career in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup victory at MK Dons.

The 24-year-old now has the ominous honour of being the joint most sent-off player in Sunderland’s history, alongside former skippers Gary Bennett and Kevin Ball.

Tellingly though, Bennett’s dismissals came in 445 appearances and Ball’s in 389, compared to Cattermole’s meagre tally of 79 outings in red and white.

David Vaughan, Seb Larsson and David Meyler will all now vie to take Cattermole’s place alongside Jack Colback in central midfield tomorrow as Sunderland continue their search for a first Premier League victory of the campaign.

French frontman Saha told the Echo: “Lee is a big player for us. He’s the captain and the leader. He’s going to be a miss.

“But I think that’s where you’re going to see the strength of the squad.

“The players who are going to come in will do a good job.”

There was no malice in the studs-high challenge from Cattermole, which earned him a straight red from referee Stuart Attwell – the 24-year-old foolishly attempting to regain possession after a heavy touch during a driving run forward.

But Saha accepts that any player who mistimes a tackle and crashes into an opposition player over the ball, runs the risk of seeing red from the official.

“You know when you go into a 50-50 now and you misjudge the ball a little bit, it is dangerous,” added the summer signing.

“He went over the ball a bit and he was unfortunate in a way.

“But there was nothing malicious about it in any way.

“That’s the game and the intensity of the modern game and you’ll get that.

“When you have committed players who try to win the ball back, then you’re going to get mistakes.”