Cattermole hails fighting attitude
Lee Cattermole is backing Sunderland's new-found never-say-die attitude to dig them out of relegation trouble.
The Black Cats edged their way into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a limp 1-0 defeat of non-league Kidderminster on Saturday three days after booking themselves a trip to the Capital One Cup final courtesy of a famous penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
However, the fact remains that they are still engaged in a desperate fight for top-flight survival which continues when Stoke head for the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening.
Gus Poyet's men have struggled to impose themselves on their own pitch in the league in recent weeks with Aston Villa winning on Wearside and Southampton taking a 2-0 lead before eventually being clawed back, but Cattermole is convinced that resilience will serve them well over the weeks ahead.
He said: "Exactly. We have been down in a couple of games - we seem to be doing better away from home at the minute than we are at home.
"But we showed against Southampton, we came back. They are a very good team, Southampton, they aren't the Southampton team of old.
"They came here and they are as good as any team in the league at the minute. They are very well organised and it was a tough game.
"But we came back from that, and we have got to go with the same attitude against Stoke and just keep grinding out results, and we are gradually clawing the teams back."
Sunderland currently sit in 19th place in the table, but are just a point shy of safety heading into the Stoke game and the derby trip to Newcastle which follows it at the weekend.
If anything, a tricky 90 minutes against Skrill Premier Kidderminster, during which a much-changed Black Cats side failed to hit the heights, has served to return feet firmly to the ground after the euphoria of their adventure at Old Trafford.
Cattermole said: "We have got to go again on Wednesday as well, and then we go straight into the derby after that, so it's all go.
"But when you are a team playing well, that's what you want."
Charis Mavrias' fifth-minute strike, his first goal for the club, was enough to see the home side through, but Michael Gash and substitute Freddie Ladapo might have snatched a draw for the visitors, who finished a largely turgid contest strongly.
Poyet made 10 changes to the side which started at United as he ran the rule over his squad, and his assessment of their efforts was withering.
He said: "It was good, very good information for me, very, very good."
United States international striker Jozy Altidore was particularly ineffective against a non-league defence.
Poyet said: "I thought it was a great opportunity for him to go and score a few, but it didn't happen, so we will see."
For Harriers boss Andy Thorn, there were plenty of positives as a club which very nearly went out of existence a little more than three years ago plotted a promotion push.
He said: "Listen, we are a well-run football club and the chairman [Mark Serrell] should take a lot of credit for that, the way he has turned the football club around.
"It wasn't long ago that the football club was on the verge of going out of business and in that short space of time, it is run properly and we are sat where we are today.
"We are sixth in the Conference, we are on the up. We would like to think we will keep our foot on the pedal going forward and I am talking to you disappointed that we haven't come away from a Premier League football club with at least a draw in the FA Cup.
"That's how far we have come in a short space of time, and we intend to keep going and going further."
Meanwhile, Cattermole will prepare for the Stoke game unfazed by continuing speculation that Potters boss Mark Hughes wants to take him to the Britannia Stadium this month.
The 25-year-old said: "I have heard no different, the manager has come out and said he has heard no different, so I'll go on as normal.
"Yes, it would be difficult, but I am contracted to Sunderland and they make the decisions, not me."