Premier League

Nosworthy hails Cats' progress

Full-back says side are making "good progress"

Nosworthy: Good progress

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Sunderland defender Nyron Nosworthy says the disappointment with the club's mid-table league position shows how far they have come.

Steve Bruce took charge at the Stadium of Light in the summer and after a raft of new signings expectations on Wearside were high.

Following a fine start to the season, the Black Cats have faltered of late and find themselves 10th in the table, kept in the top half on goal difference.

One win away from home all season has contributed to the demise, and Bruce's men were expected to get back on track in the home clash against Portsmouth.

But they were pegged back by the bottom club, who equalised in the last minute to snatch a 1-1 draw.

Nosworthy believes the frustration surrounding his side's form shows the extent of the progress made under Bruce after two seasons battling to maintain the club's Premier League status.

Testament

"It's fantastic and it's great testament to everyone who has been at the club and backed the club," Nosworthy said.

"The chairman has had a vision and he has come in and said we want to push for the top 10 and be in there pushing for a Europa League place.

"Right now, his belief has pushed everyone else on. The support has been fantastic and now the club is moving forward with momentum, and it's a beautiful thing to see."

Sunderland welcome Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa in midweek, who go into the match on the back of a superb 1-0 win over champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Positive pressure

Bruce will be boosted by the return of Kieran Richardson and Phil Bardsley from suspension for the clash, and the boss is hopeful striker Kenwyne Jones will shake off a shoulder injury.

And Nosworthy says his side must be positive to bag a much needed win against Villa.

Just one win in seven league outings has been forthcoming, but the 29-year-old says the players are determined to turn things around.

He added: "The club is not now associated with the bottom three in terms of being a yo-yo club at the moment.

"We are making good progress and that willingness everyone has to win has set the standard pretty high.

"We have put the pressure on ourselves in terms of putting on good performances and beating big teams. We have put that on ourselves because we know we are capable of doing that.

"That's a good pressure, people not going into games saying, 'We have got Aston Villa here, we will take a draw'.

"That's a negative, we want to be more positive, we are saying, 'We want to win and we want to win in style'.

"We will take those positive pressures all day rather than negative ones and go out there and put on a performance."