SUNDERLAND forward Aiden O’Brien has insisted that the Black Cats have what it takes to win promotion from League One.

The Republic of Ireland international spoke out after his first-half goal proved enough to secure victory over Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers at the weekend.

O’Brien’s volley enabled Sunderland to close the gap on pace-setters Hull and maintain the pressure on second-placed Peterborough, who walloped Accrington 7-0.

“We’re a force to be taken seriously because we have it all,” O’Brien told reporters at the Memorial Ground. “We have the fight, we have the quality and, why not, we can do it this year. We’ve just got to keep playing with a smile on our faces, because when we do that, we’re brilliant.

“We have two games in hand on Hull who we are three points behind and Peterborough who had a good win but with ten games to play, it’s about who has the fire in the belly to take it home.

“I’m actually looking forward to it, bring it on. We’re now ten league games unbeaten which is absolutely brilliant so we can try to stick to that and keep doing what we’re doing.”

O’Brien, 27, admitted his goal was “absolutely off my shin, horrible, but we’ll take them’ and insisted victory over a side who are now second-bottom of the League One table is not to be sniffed at.

“They’re fighting for their lives in the bottom four and it’s always going to be hard against teams battling against relegation, especially on their patch,” O’Brien said.

“Their manager is probably under pressure as well but we’ve come away with three points which we’ve got to be delighted with. Now, it’s more crucial than ever we stick together as a team, as we’ve done all season, and keep grinding out wins out like this. That’s what it’s about at this stage of the campaign.”