Johnson set for cup debut
New Sunderland signing Adam Johnson will make his Black Cats debut against Morecambe on Tuesday night, Martin O'Neill has confirmed.
Last Updated: 27/08/12 3:52pm
New Sunderland signing Adam Johnson will make his Black Cats debut against League Two Morecambe on Tuesday night, manager Martin O'Neill has confirmed.
The 25-year-old England winger, who joined the club from Manchester City in a move understood to have cost them around £12million on Friday, signed too late to have been involved in Saturday's Premier League clash with Reading had it gone ahead.
Steven Fletcher, whose similarly expensive transfer from Wolves had been sealed a few hours earlier, was in the squad at the weekend before torrential rain forced a postponement, but O'Neill believes Johnson is at a more advanced stage in terms of match fitness.
Asked if both will feature in the Capital One Cup second-round tie at the Stadium of Light, he said: "That depends.
"Adam, with playing for England, his fitness is fine and a lot more advanced than Steven Fletcher.
"In fairness, Adam wanted to get things sorted on Friday, but the timing for Saturday just beat us.
"I think for him, it would be a great opportunity. He will be playing."
O'Neill was thrilled to have landed his two major targets and is convinced they, coupled with experienced Frenchman Louis Saha, will give his team the attacking threat they have lacked in the last 18 months.
He said: "Fletcher gives us a bit of a new dimension. I would love to promise that we will score a lot more goals with the two in the team, but I do get the impression that we will create more chances.
"Johnson is a very exciting player. He just needs more encouragement to keep going.
"He is the type of player I love - someone who takes opponents on. I used to do it myself - without great success."
Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole is looking forward to being reunited with new arrival Johnson, with whom he came through the youth academy at Middlesbrough before going on to play for the first team.
"Johnno is a great talent, always has been," he told the club's official website. "He has that ability to go past players and our fans will really like him.
"I'm sure he'll do great with us and I think he'll find a lot more space and grass in front of him than he was used to at Man City.
"Adam will love the challenge of playing here and is from the area too. I spoke to him (about the move) and told him he will love it at Sunderland.
"He's a great lad too and will fit in no problem. I'm sure we'll see that in his performances.
"It's funny - everyone seems to go their own way in football and move round clubs, so it's great to be playing alongside him again."