McCarthy praises strikers
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Mick McCarthy believes he has the league's best strike partnership.Mick McCarthy believes the strike partnership that has fired Sunderland to joint second are among the best in The Championship.
Marcus Stewart and Stephen Elliott represent a somewhat unusual coupling, but have shared 25 goals between them this season for The Black Cats.
Ex-Ipswich striker Stewart is a full 11 years older than his partner, although the two have hit it off in what McCarthy is hoping will be the club's promotion season back to the top flight.
Despite the prolificacy of Wigan's Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts, McCarthy is convinced that his two represent the best that the second flight has to offer.
Sunderland comprehensively saw off Watford at the weekend with in a 4-2 victory at the Stadium of Light, a game that saw Stewart bag a hat trick.
However, the ex-Republic of Ireland boss was quick to also praise 21-year-old Elliott, who has impressed since his summer move from Manchester City.
"They are the best partnership, I think that's been proved," McCarthy told Sky Sports News.
"I think they are both on twelve now and Stewy, even when he had a lean spell when he must have gone 13, 14, 15 games without scoring, he was still playing well but he's added goals to his performances.
"They were excellent on Saturday and the Watford back four couldn't cope with them.
"How Elliot didn't end up with a goal I'll never know because his performance was excellent."
McCarthy takes his side to Brighton on Saturday in a bid to maintain the challenge for automatic promotion, although he is expecting a tough task at the Withdean Stadium.
Sunderland overcame Mark McGhee's side 2-0 in a tricky encounter in October, and will experience a very different kind of environment to that which The Black Cats are accustomed to in their 48,300 capacity stadium.
"I know McGhee well, that stadium's not what we are used to, Brighton will use every available asset to make it difficult for us and they'll be organised," McCarthy continued.
"They've had good results, I think Leeds went there and got beat and they'll make it extremely difficult as they did here."