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Fletcher talks up Sunderland's goalscoring threat
SUNDERLAND relied heavily on Steven Fletcher’s goals last season, but the striker believes Paolo Di Canio’s new-look squad can take some of the burden off his shoulders.
Fletcher marked his return from injury with a goal in Saturday’s defeat to Crystal Palace, which ended a spell of almost six months on the sidelines.
The 26-year-old scored 11 times in his first season on Wearside and it could have been more had he not been stretchered off in Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales in March.
With Connor Wickham out of the picture, Ji out on loan and Stephane Sessegnon in and out of form, the Black Cats relied heavily on the striker's goals during the last campaign.
Now, though, after 14 new faces arrived at the Stadium of Light over the summer, Fletcher believes Di Canio’s squad now possess a bigger goal threat than before with the likes of Fabio Borini, Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini among those to sign.
“We can get goals from everywhere,” Fletcher said. “Every team needs goals and if I can bring that then hopefully I will. But we have other players in the team who can score too.”
The Scotland international has spent a frustrating time on the sidelines and despite being hopeful of returning before the start of the season, Di Canio was keen to wait until his striker had completely got over the ankle ligament damage he suffered.
Despite going down 3-1 at Selhurst Park last weekend, Fletcher’s introduction at half time immediately gave Sunderland’s attacking play a new dimension.
The former Wolves front man now has the international break to work on his fitness and he hopes his second half performance will persuade Di Canio to start him when Arsenal visit the Stadium of Light a week on Saturday.
Fletcher said: “I’ve trained three times with the team and now I’ve had 45 minutes so that’s helped me a lot.
“It’s brought me on a good couple of days. Now we’ve got an international break I can get a good few training sessions under my belt and hopefully I’ll be ready for the next game.
“It was a bad injury. I don’t think the gaffer wanted to bring me back as quick as he has but when he’s put me in training I’ve obviously wanted to impress and I’ve impressed him enough to put me on the bench so I’m happy with that.”
Meanwhile, South Korean international Ki Sung Yeung has spoken of his delight at joining Sunderland on a season-long loan deal from Swansea City.
Di Canio was desperate to bring another central midfielder capable of dictating play and the 24-year-old admits he is looking forward to working under the Italian.
“I heard he (Di Canio) has done interviews about me, which gives me a lot of confidence,” Ki said. “I saw him when he played so I’m looking forward to working with the great manager of this team and it’s also a great feeling to work with him.
“My strength is to keep the ball and pass to the forwards. Sometimes I’ll join in with the attack as well. I can go from defensive to offensive and maybe I can do both here.
“I played many games last season. We did well, we won the cup and did well in the league, but I want to play more games and show my quality to everyone and hopefully I can do that here.”
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