O'Shea not getting carried away


Soccer:John O’Shea will be taking nothing for granted despite seeing Sunderland ease themselves into the top half of the Premier League. Saturday’s 2-0 home victory over promoted Swansea lifted the Black Cats into 10th place in the table and perhaps more importantly, nine points clear of the relegation zone as the Martin O’Neill-inspired recovery continued apace.

The Wearsiders have now taken 16 points from a possible 24 and 10 from 12 at home since the Derry man’s arrival in December to allow them to look upwards rather than over their shoulders. However, Republic of Ireland international O’Shea is refusing to be carried away by that vastly-improved run of form.

Asked if they can now start to set their sights on the teams above them, the said 30-year-old defender said: “The position you are in dictates that.

“But from the teams above us to the teams below us, there is not much between all of us, so you know if a couple of wins go together, three or four wins out of the next four or five games, you are right up the table and you are kicking well away from the relegation zone and seventh, eighth position could be in range.

“But we will take it slowly. We have got a good little run, but the Premier League can soon turn around and kick you up the backside.”

Former manager Steve Bruce may well allow himself a wry smile at Sunderland’s recent resurgence with O’Neill yet to add to the squad he assembled during his spell in charge at the Stadium of Light. Indeed, O’Shea admits that the margins between success and failure in the Premier League can be desperately close.

He said: “That’s what I spoke about, the fine lines in the Premier League — we could have easily been in that position from September or October onwards and could have been looking to kick on further.

“But that’s where we are now, thankfully. If we hadn’t won yesterday, we could have been in 16th position or something like that — that’s how fine the line is in that group is in the middle. It looks a lot healthier, so if we can really concentrate on each game at a time, we can really have a good end to the season.”

Meanwhile, O’Neill was today anxiously awaiting news of a scan on Nicklas Bendtner’s cheekbone after he was caught by Angel Rangel’s flying boot.

He said: “Nicklas is very sore-looking and he is very sore. His eye is really bad and coming off the field, he couldn’t see anything out of it. The doctor is hoping it’s just a lot of tissue there at this minute, but there is a possibility that he might have cracked something.”