O’Neill wants Middlesbrough promotion

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has praised the way Newcastle United have played this weekend and wants the North East to become strong for football once again. With Middlesbrough doing well in the Championship, O’Neill wants all three sides to be back in the Premier League again as soon as possible.

This weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby will be the first of O’Neill’s managerial career at Sunderland and he is looking to improve on the 4-0 thrashing received at West Brom last weekend. Newcastle will pose tricky opposition, as O’Neill well knows, and the former Aston Villa boss believes that Sunderland will have to be at the top of their game to win at the Sports Direct Arena. The Magpies beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light earlier this season and O’Neill has been impressed with how remarkably well they have done.

O’Neill said: ‘They have done remarkably well, they have a lot of good players now and have accumulated quite a strong squad. They have done very well indeed. Obviously I was looking at it from a far in the first third of the season because I wasn’t involved in management but their results have been very good and we have our work cut out when we play them at the weekend.’

Sunderland got past Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the FA Cup and O’Neill is looking for the Teesside outfit to get back into the Premier League. The Black Cats boss also labelled the derby as ‘pretty ferocious’, which comes from a manager who has experienced Celtic vs Rangers. The Black Cats are currently ninth in the table and can put a dent in Newcastle’s hopes of Champions League football with a victory at the Sports Direct Arena.

For more insight from Martin O’Neill and other leading managers plus exclusive Barclays Premier League highlights go to www.yahoo.co.uk/sport

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