SWITCHING allegiances is going to be easy for Sunderland new-boy Tommy Smith.

The 23-year-old striker used to be a fan of the Black Cats' fierce rivals Newcastle United. Well not any longer.

After agreeing terms to join Mick McCarthy's men last week, Smith is in no doubt about the club he supports now - Sunderland.

"As soon as Mick said come up I was delighted. It's a fantastic move for me," said Hemel Hempstead-born Smith.

"My dad's side of the family are all from the North-East. My dad (Dave) and his dad watched whoever was at home but his dad followed Newcastle more so he did as well.

"My mum is a Watford fan so I was looking for both results.

"There's only one team for me now and that is Sunderland. My dad is over the moon.

"I didn't need to speak to anyone. I knew it was a huge club."

Smith's contract at Watford ran out in the summer and he turned down the chance to stay with the Hornets by rejecting a new deal.

Now the former England Under-21 international is convinced he has joined a club who are more than capable of bouncing back to the top-flight this season.

And Smith, who made his debut when he came on as a late substitute against Reading, is aware of how difficult a task he faces to earn himself a first team place.

"Hopefully I've joined a team that can get into the Premiership," said Smith, who is believed to have cost £100,000.

"There was no choice for me as soon as they said they wanted me I wanted to sign.

"They were fantastic against Reading and I will have to work for my place.

"I did my pre-season at Watford, they offered me a contract but we sat down together and I said I didn't want to stay.

"I wanted to progress. After five years I wanted a bigger club."

Kevin Phillips was the last player to swap Watford for Sunderland.

Smith insists he is not too concerned about trying to follow in the same footsteps as Sunderland's post-war record goalscorer.

And Smith has set his sights on extending his current deal - which runs out at the end of the season.

"The objective is to get a longer term contract. It's a great opportunity for me," he said. "I want to fight my way into the team. I want to make it a long term thing.

"But with the financial problems in football as a whole, you have to earn your contract.

"I'd definitely like to do as well as Kevin Phillips. He was the last player to join Sunderland from Watford.

"It's tough to follow his footsteps, if I do half as well as him, I'll be delighted."

Smith is likely to be on the bench for tomorrow night's match with Ipswich Town.

But the front-man, who can also play out wide, is hoping to regain full fitness soon and challenge for a starting place.

"It's not a massive squad," he said. "In a way that helps. The team spirit is fantastic.

"I've played on the wing but I prefer playing down the middle.

"I'm really looking forward to it now. I'm not sure about my fitness. I've not had any matches. All I've done is train.

"I feel really sharp. I've not missed any training. It was brilliant to come on at the end."

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