Reid keeps calm despite impressive start

Andy Reid is refusing to set any targets despite Sunderland’s encouraging start under new boss Steve Bruce.

The Black Cats midfielder played a key role in the 4-1 home victory over Hull which lifted the club into sixth place in the Barclays Premier League table on Saturday evening.

With striker Darren Bent having taken his tally to four goals in five games and former Tigers defender Michael Turner having enjoyed a near-faultless debut against his old club, expectation has risen significantly on Wearside.

But amid all the talk of a comfortable top 10 finish and even a challenge for European qualification, Reid is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

Asked about the club’s ambitions for the campaign, the 27-year-old Irishman said: “There is no point saying we are going to finish here, we are going to finish there because you just put yourself there to be shot at.

“We will go about it as best we can, we will give everything we can in every game. One thing the fans did see out there aside from quality, they saw loads of tackles and commitment.

“That’s what they demand and that’s what we will give them.”

Sunderland take on promoted duo Burnley and Wolves in their next two league games and will have high hopes of cementing their good start before bigger tests against Manchester United and Liverpool.

However, if they perform as they did against a Hull side which capitulated alarmingly after the break, they can approach those fixtures with some optimism.

If Bent was the executioner, it was a slimline Reid who was the architect, the midfielder having a hand in three of the goals.

It was his corner which striker Craig Fagan, for reasons which eluded manager Phil Brown, handled to allow Bent to open the scoring from the penalty spot with 13 minutes gone, and after Kamil Zayatte had levelled two minutes before the break, the Irishman thumped home his side’s second within four minutes of the restart.

Bent effectively clinched victory when he ran on to Anton Ferdinand’s through-ball to beat goalkeeper Boaz Myhill from close range with the Tigers defence running away from him rather than towards him.

The bulk of the 38,977 spectators inside the Stadium of Light thought Turner had capped his debut in the best possible way by powering home a header from another Reid corner, but television replays showed his touch was negligible and that Zayatte had in fact bundled the ball into his own net.

Reid, who has lost around nine kilograms in weight since the end of last season, was only in the starting line-up because Kieran Richardson had been asked to play as an emergency left-back in place of the injured George McCartney, but he could not have stated his case for a run in the team any more eloquently.

He said: “I just want to play football and when I perform as well as I did on Saturday, without blowing my own trumpet or anything like that, I just want to play more and it breeds confidence.

“It’s just about me going out and performing on the pitch. I know myself when I perform well, and I know myself when I don’t perform well. I put pressure on myself to go out and do the job I need to do.”

Defeat at the Stadium of Light left Hull in 16th place in the table with four points from five games, and City boss Brown knows there is much hard work to be done on the training ground.

He admitted when he agreed to sell Turner to Sunderland that the offer had just been too good to refuse, but he is equally aware the gap the defender left behind will take some plugging.

Brown said: “Michael played something like 91 consecutive games for us, which is a hell of a record. He never missed a minute.

“Yes, he will take some replacing, but that’s our job. We had Kamil Zayatte and Ibrahima Sonko today, a new partnership, and it showed they need work on the training ground.

“We have got a lot of work to do, but we never shirk responsibility where that’s concerned.”

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