Defender gives Sunderland injury boost as he opens up on Chris Coleman and team's frailties
Adam Matthews is set to hand Chris Coleman an injury boost as he closes in on a first team return.
Matthews missed the 3-3 draw with Bristol City due to a calf problem but has returned to training and has an outside chance of making the squad for the visit of Brentford this weekend.
The 26-year-old hopes that second-half comeback at Ashton Gate can help overcome any mental fragility the squad has suffered with this season.
The Black Cats are yet to win a league game in which they conceded the first goal.
Speaking at the Coral Sunderland AFC golf challenge, Matthews said: “It was just a small calf strain, I’ve trained today [Wednesday], I’ll have another session and then hopefully all goes well and I’ll be back in the squad Saturday, if not then definitely Tuesday.
“We showed in the last 25 minutes [at Ashton Gate] that we can be a good team, but we can’t just do it in little spells, we have to do it for 90 minutes. I think it is just belief really, you have to not panic. It has happened a lot this season, conceding a couple of goals in five minute spells.
“I think the panic just sets in really and I think that just comes from where we are in the table. Hopefully coming back like we did against Bristol City will change that and give us that belief.
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“First and foremost you want to stop the other team from scoring but at the end of the day it’s football, sometimes it will happen. If they do, hopefully the comeback will give us that belief if it does happen that we can get back into it.”
Matthews is enjoying life under new manager Chris Coleman and believes the team are improving on the whole.
He said: “I’ve enjoyed all my time at Sunderland but obviously this year has been a little bit different and hopefully I’ve changed a lot of people’s opinions.
“The manager wants the full-backs to get forward and I think it suits me, it’s the biggest strength in my game and if anything I need to work on the defensive side.
“I think he’s [Coleman] been brilliant, you can see the change in the team. For the most part we’ve been a much more solid team, we can be more threatening going forward but hopefully we can find the balance.
“When a new manager comes in there are new ideas and not every game is going to go to plan. Most of the time we have been solid and you can see that in the clean sheets. We need to do a bit more going forward but when we do we will be a hard team to beat.”