8:00am Thursday 22nd November 2012
By Scott Wilson
LEE Cattermole is excited at the prospect of Sunderland's attacking players hitting top form in the club's next two home matches.
Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean have all been below par in the opening three months of the season, but Sunday's 3-1 win at Fulham witnessed a marked improvement in the Black Cats' attacking fortunes.
Johnson laid on his side's opening two goals at Craven Cottage, with Sessegnon scoring a spectacular third to confirm Sunderland's first Premier League away win since February.
The victory lifted the Wearsiders three points clear of the relegation zone, and also boosted morale ahead of Saturday's home game with West Brom and Tuesday's visit of QPR.
The Stadium of Light double-header provides an opportunity to push towards the top half of the table, and Cattermole feels his side's attackers are ready to take full advantage.
"When you see our attacking players coming into their best form, like they have been doing lately, you really want to be part of a team that you feel can do some damage and really start putting some points together," said the Sunderland skipper, who shook off a knee injury to take his place in the starting line-up at Fulham.
"I genuinely think these are exciting times for us. We haven't quite clicked yet, but we've been unlucky in a few games. We haven't been too far off in matches, but we just haven't had the luck or the bounce of the ball.
"It was different against Everton and against Fulham though - we've played really well in our last two games."
A mixture of injury and suspension means Cattermole has missed four of Sunderland's 11 league matches this season, a record that has left the midfielder feeling frustrated.
Since his Capital One Cup dismissal at MK Dons in September, he has endured a stop-start existence in the first team, so he is looking forward to playing two games in the space of four days this week in order to rediscover his rhythm.
"I was determined to make the Fulham game after the scan revealed it was nothing too serious, just bruising to the bone, but I hadn't really trained all week," he said. "I must admit I was finding it difficult towards the end of the game, which is not like me.
"Hopefully though, these two games will be just what I need to get me firing on all cylinders.
"I know I'm at my best when I'm 100 per cent fit, but it hasn't been that simple this season. The sending off against the MK Dons back in September actually saw me miss five weeks of the season because of the way the fixtures fell.
"So it hasn't been the easiest getting that match sharpness back and these games will definitely be a big help in that direction."
Meanwhile, Sunderland defender John Egan has returned to Wearside after suffering a broken leg while on loan at Bradford City. Egan will be assessed by the Black Cats' medical team before embarking on a lengthy period of rehabilitation.
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