ADAM MATTHEWS thinks Chris Coleman can ensure Sunderland are mentally strong enough to recover from another disastrous day at the Stadium of Light by stunning the Championship’s pace-setters.

The Black Cats’ full-back, a compatriot of Coleman’s, was hurting in a sombre dressing room on Saturday when hopes the new manager would end the long wait for a home win were dashed.

Reading found it far too easy after Callum McManaman was sent off at the end of the first half and Sunderland were unable to capitalise on the lift that the appointment of Coleman had on the squad.

Loading article content

Now the focus, once again, is on trying to lift spirits after such a depressing afternoon on Wearside five days ago, with fans and players appreciative of who they will be facing on Saturday.

Wolves have taken the Championship by storm this season under Nuno Espirito Santo, who has led his side to a four-point advantage at the top of the table. There is a massive 33 point gap back to second from bottom Sunderland.

But with very few people expecting Sunderland to leave Molineux with points this weekend, Matthews hopes that can help Coleman and his team in terms of their own preparations.

Matthews said: “We’re going there expecting to get the three points. In the position we’re in most people will think it’s an easy game for Wolves but we know the character we’ve got in the changing room and going off the Burton performance and some of the Reading performance we’re confident we can get a result.

“They’re playing quite well at the minute. It will be a tough game but we’ve got to forget this performance and result very quickly and look forward to Saturday.”

Sunderland’s cause has not been helped by further additions to the absentees list. As well as being without the suspended McManaman now for a game, Coleman has also lost Paddy McNair and Bryan Oviedo to the groin and knee problems picked up over the weekend.

McNair is not expected to be missing for too long but appearing at Wolves would be a surprise, while Oviedo needs to be treated more carefully. Other than that Coleman has inherited a lot of injury problems, and only Didier Ndong is viewed as a sidelined key player in with a chance of playing before Christmas.

Matthews said: “We feel like we’ve got a good squad here so I’m sure we can cope with injuries when they come along.

“We want our luck to turn but it’s not about luck. We need to turn it ourselves, it’s not going to do it on its own. We’ve got to get this result out of our head and focus on the game on Saturday against Wolves.”

There is a growing clamour for Coleman to change Sunderland’s approach, with demands for more youthful energy to be included in the ranks because they could play without some of the fear dogging down some players.

That was certainly the case on Saturday when Joel Asoro emerged from the bench and looked dangerous against Reading, while the other decent performer in an attacking sense was George Honeyman.

Options are few and far between for Coleman to throw in and mix things up, but the likes of Josh Maja and Elliot Embleton are two of those knocking on the door. Matthews was impressed by Honeyman and Asoro.

He said: “George has done well all season and I think Joel did well coming on at Burton, and the same against Reading. He has a bit of pace about him and a few tricks so he can get about defenders. He’s a good player to come off the bench.”

Coleman has admitted he is weighing up when is the right time give Jason Steele another chance. Steele hasn’t played under him so far, but Robbin Ruiter has been guilty of a few errors and conceded another three against the Royals.

The Sunderland manager said: “Steeley is a good goalkeeper too, he proved that at Blackburn. He has come in here, it is a different environment for him, and it is very tough to choose between them. I think they will both get games, if I’m honest. They are both capable.”