Gus Poyet counting down the days until attacking reinforcements arrive at Sunderland

Gus Poyet insists he is not worried by Sunderland's lack of pre-season goals, although he accepts they need more firepower

Getty Images Gus Poyet
Gus Poyet

Gustavo Poyet is optimistic that Sunderland’s search for attacking reinforcements will come to a successful conclusion this week.

The Black Cats head coach said over the weekend that he was expecting good news on the transfer front ‘over the next two or three days’ and, while he declined to name names, he suggested that at least one new face would be an attacking player.

That will be music to the ears of Sunderland fans, who are hoping the club can complete a £14m deal for Liverpool striker Fabio Borini after agreeing a fee with the Reds more than a fortnight ago.

Poyet knows his side is short of firepower – a problem that has been highlighted in pre-season, with the Black Cats’ first-teamers having failed to score in their last four friendlies.

Following the 5-1 win in their first friendly against non-league Darlington 1883, in which Steven Fletcher, Connor Wickham, Jordi Gomez and Emanuele Giaccherini were on target, Sunderland’s only goals in pre-season have come from youngsters drafted in from the club’s Under 21 development side. They came off the substitutes’ bench to win the game against Carlisle and Hartlepool, and it was an under-21 side that won 1-0 against Recreativo de Huelva in the first game of Sunderland’s visit to Portugal last week.

The first team lost 1-0 against CD Nacional in midweek, and also drew a blank in a goalless game against Vitoria Setubal on Saturday.

However Poyet insists he is not unduly worried about the lack of pre-season goals.

He said: “Is it something we need to worry about? No.

“During the time that we were passing the ball and we were fresh (against Vitoria), we were very close (to scoring) and we had plenty of chances. The problem is that at the moment it looks like it is becoming more and more difficult.

“It’s quality sometimes, the different ability that you need in the last third, more players, everything really. But it is clear that we need to score more.

“If we were just kicking the ball forward and hoping for the bounce, then we could talk about the fact we were not playing well.

“But we have done OK, and it is just the finish that is missing.”

Sunderland flew back from the Algarve last night and will continue their pre-season preparations with friendlies against Spanish side Real Betis on Thursday, and Italian Serie A outfit Udinese on Saturday.

Poyet says goalkeeper Vito Mannone will start one of those games after missing the Vitoria game – in which he was due to play – with a virus.

“It was a stomach issue, but nothing serious,” said Poyet.

“We have kept him completely apart (from the rest of the squad) and he travelled back to the airport separately yesterday to minimise the chances of any virus being passed on – that’s the last thing we need at this moment in time.

“It’s typical, because he was due to play on Saturday, but now he will play on either Thursday or Saturday instead.”

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