LEE CATTERMOLE is not taking a Wear-Tyne derby recall for granted, as he faces a familiar fight to catch the new manager’s eye.
Cattermole returns from a two-match suspension for Sunday’s visit of Newcastle United, with the Teessider hoping to play a part in a fifth successive Sunderland victory over Newcastle United.
The 27-year-old was forced to watch Dick Advocaat’s opening game in charge of Sunderland on television after the Dutchman became the midfielder’s fifth manager in less than six years at the Stadium of Light.
Cattermole became a key figure under Advocaat’s predecessor Gus Poyet after the Uruguayan initially earmarked his former Brighton man Liam Bridcutt to be the pivotal defensive midfielder for Sunderland.
But Cattermole believes every player is starting from scratch under the former Holland manager, even though he is hopeful of earning an instant recall to the starting XI against the Magpies.
“It’s always the case with a new manager, everyone has a clean slate where you have a chance to impress him,” said Cattermole.
“Standards in training rise a bit – right or wrong.
“He’s not spoken to me personally. He said he’s watched a lot of the games.
“He’s focused on getting the team’s attitude right and focused on nine cup finals, which is now down to eight.
“We just need to get some points on the board. That’s his main thoughts.
“I’d like to think he’s watched games and seen me in training and the effect I have on the players.
“I’m hoping he puts me in the team.
“If he doesn’t, I’ll have to get on the pitch at some point and impress him. That’s what you have to do if you’re out the team.
“I’m no different to that.”
Cattermole, banned after a 10th yellow card of the season at Hull at the start of March, was able to build up his match fitness in a behind-closed-doors game against Motherwell last week.
But Advocaat’s preparations for the derby have not been helped by the absence of four members of the side who started his opening game in charge against West Ham, with Costel Pantilimon, John O’Shea, Seb Larsson and Steven Fletcher all away on international duty.
With the quartet now back in training though, Cattermole is hopeful that Sunderland can get the victory which would kick-start a move away from the bottom three.
“I don’t really like international breaks because you lose quite a lot of players,” added Cattermole.
“Training is either made up of smaller groups or younger players.
“We haven’t played too bad all season. There’s been the odd bad performance that’s killed us, but we just need to start getting over the line and winning some games.
“There’s not really much else to say on the matter. We haven’t hit a roll all season, which we did at the end of last year.
“It’s always been a draw, a draw and then maybe a win.
“This is a good time to get something going and finish the season with a bit of a bang.”
– CHRIS YOUNG