SUNDERLAND goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is warning his team-mates not to underestimate Premier League new boys Swansea City.
The Black Cats travel to the Liberty Stadium tomorrow still licking the wounds inflicted upon them by Newcastle and then Brighton and Hove Albion, who produced one of the shocks of the Carling Cup in midweek with a 1-0 win over Steve Bruce’s men.
These are testing times for the Wearsiders and newly-promoted Swansea will be looking to cash in on a Cats team whose morale has been dented of late.
Mignolet (left) has warned the Swans will still be riding high on the memory of their promotion success in May.
After all, he was once riding that crest of a wave when his old club Sint-Truiden went up into Belgium’s top flight.
He said: “When you come from the second division, some people doubt you. The teams in the top league will treat you with the same respect as everyone else.
“For me it was an adjustment to play in the top league.
“We drew with the champions in our first game, and they missed two penalties.
“After seven games we were at the top of the league, which was crazy, but after that we lost about seven again – but we had enough to stay in the division.
“Swansea will be looking to make an impact having come out of the Championship and it that sense it will be a difficult game.
“They will want to get a first win on the board and there are no easy games in this division.
“We will go again and see how we play against them.”
Sunderland’s Welsh international David Vaughan – named in the national team squad for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers against Montenegro and England – is delighted to be going back to play at the land of his fathers, but warns allowing Swansea to play their free-flowing game could spell trouble for the Cats.
He said: “They will be a dangerous side. Everyone knows they are a good footballing team who have big threats going forward.
“It will be a big test going to the Liberty – it is a good atmosphere there and they like to play attractive football.
“It is nice to see a Welsh team in the Premier League.
“Cardiff have been knocking on the door for the last few years but have not managed it, so it is good for Welsh football Swansea have got there.
“Hopefully they will do well – after Saturday anyway – surprise a few people and stay in the league. I know quite a few of their players.
“It will be nice to hopefully play against them before we meet up the next day for the Wales camp. I am sure there will be banter flying around.”
Meanwhile, sidelined Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon has stated his intent to grab back the Scotland jersey once he returns to action for the Cats.
A knee injury has kept Gordon on the treatment table which has allowed Rangers goalie Allan McGregor to steal in and claim his berth as Scotland’s first choice keeper – although the Sunderland man will be demanding his role back once he’s fit again.
Gordon said: “I still feel that way and if I ever stopped thinking like that then I am in the wrong mindset. I want to play as many games as I can for Scotland.
“If I want to get back there, I have to start playing football.
“The final goal is to get back into the Scotland team – the first one is to get myself fit.
“I need to play games to put the pressure on. Then I have to get back into the Scotland team.
“Those are the things which motivate me every day I go into training.
“Once you start doubting yourself you are on a slippery slope.
“To play at the top level you have to back yourself in all situations.
“On the pitch you have to believe you are the best and the rightful owner of that position.”