Sunderland midfielder Jason McAteer is backing manager Mick McCarthy to inspire his side to a promotion charge as they prepare for life in Division One. The 32-year-old missed much of the last disastrous campaign through injury, and is yet to get his chance to once again impress the man for whom he played at international level with the Republic of Ireland for six years.

However, he is confident that McCarthy - still waiting for his first win in his new job after ending last season with nine successive defeats after taking over a doomed side from Howard Wilkinson - is the right man for the job. "Sunderland needs a manager like Mick", he said. "He's a great man-manager and will get everyone playing for him".

The new season, which kicks off at Nottingham Forest on August 9, will give McAteer a chance to put his own woes behind him after being limited to just 10 games last time around through a combination of hamstring and groin injuries.

Filed by Barry J Whyte