O’Neill buoyed by Cats start

O’Neill was thrilled on Wednesday evening when his side secured a

second victory in his three games at the helm to date with a 3-2

win at QPR. However, he acknowledges that his mood can change

markedly when things are not going so well. “I’m always ebullient

when we are winning games. Wait until you see the other side,” he

said. “It’s pretty dreadful, honestly. It spoils my day and then

what happens is I go and spoil other people’s day, like my family.

“But Wednesday night was just fantastic, really fantastic. Just

winning a football match is great. It doesn’t leave you.” Six

points from a possible nine have left smiles on the faces of

O’Neill, his players and the club’s supporters, and eased the Black

Cats three points clear of the Premier League drop zone. However,

the Ulsterman – whose men face Everton and then leaders Manchester

City at the Stadium of Light over the holiday period – insists that

while his first few weeks on Wearside have been hugely encouraging,

they represent just a start. He said: “It’s encouraging. We badly

needed some points on the board and that’s been achieved. But we

have still a long way to go, obviously.” O’Neill has endured a

whirlwind start to his tenure and the intensity is only likely to

increase with the games coming thick and fast and the winter

transfer window approaching. However, he insists he is enjoying it,

particularly when things turn out as well as they did at Loftus

Road. “In a sort of perverse way, I am,” he added. “Naturally the

winning of football games, the feeling in the dressing room, the

players were elated and the feeling was shared by everyone. “Just

winning football matches, it’s really fantastic. I am still

euphoric. I will come back down to earth, but allow me a day or two

to enjoy it. “The victories are great. You celebrate them,

seemingly, for about 10 minutes, and defeat seems to last about a

week, so I am going to try to reverse that.” Speculation is already

mounting over what O’Neill may be able to do in the transfer market

next month, although the prospect of Asamoah Gyan returning from

his loan spell at United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain has receded. The

agreement which took the Ghana international to the Middle East

covers the entire season, and in any case he will be on African Cup

of Nations duty within the next few weeks. Sunderland have already

been linked with a series of potential targets, many of them

understandably strikers in the wake of the departures of Darren

Bent, Danny Welbeck and Gyan. The name of Fulham’s Bobby Zamora was

added to the list on Friday, although O’Neill was coy when asked

about the suggestion. He joked: “We have been linked today and we

are going to be linked, in the not-too-distant future as January

progresses, with players. “We are linked with some really good

players, we have been linked with some pretty average players and

we have also been linked over the course of time with some pretty

abominable players. “I just want us to be linked with the really

good players.” However, there could be some good news on the

striker front just around the corner with Fraizer Campbell rapidly

approaching contention after his latest knee injury. O’Neill said:

“He is doing very well. He played this morning again for about 75

minutes and the medical team have said to me that there’s not much

more they can do. “They are sending him out, he doesn’t seem to be

having any reactionary problems to anything, so that’s very

encouraging.”