Skipper John O’Shea says Sunderland’s players are relishing a Premier League return following the end of the international break.
The 35-year-old said that the “atmosphere’s very good” at the Academy of Light as the squad prepare for the challenge of taking on Stoke.
But he says that the side must turn pressure into goals – in the previous match they could not do that and West Brom scored against the run of play,
“The mood is positive and everyone is looking forward to Stoke,” explained the skipper.
“We were looking forward to getting the three points against West Brom, but we conceded when we were on top.
“It’s up to us to score in those situations and punish teams.
“But it was good to fight back for a point because when they take the lead they tend to be hard to break down.”
O’Shea, who has returned from international duty with the Republic of Ireland, says the injury list at the club is causing great angst.
But he added that the absence of several of the established stars has presented an opportunity to the younger talent with the likes of Duncan Watmore and Lynden Gooch enjoying themselves on the international stage with England U21 and the USA.
“It is frustrating and it will be to the manger too but, to his credit, he’s not using it as an excuse,” said the defender.
“But when you look at the numbers of lads we’ve got out it’s going to have an impact any team, never mind ourselves.
“It gives a chance for some of the younger lads to step up to the plate and they’ve been doing that.
“They’ve been getting international recognition too.
“It’s a big boost for us because the more competitive games they play and more experience they gain they come back with a spring in their steps.”