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Cuellar to get Cats chance

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio insists that Carlos Cuellar still features in his plans despite the defender failing to feature so far this season.

Last Updated: 22/09/13 at 18:02 Post Comment

Carlos Cuellar: Paolo Di Canio says the defender will get a chance at Sunderland

Carlos Cuellar: Paolo Di Canio says the defender will get a chance at Sunderland

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The 32-year old, signed from Aston Villa last July by Martin O'Neill, figured 28 times in his debut campaign for the Black Cats before a host of new arrivals left him down the pecking order.

Summer signings Modibo Diakite and Valentin Roberge have added to the likes of John O'Shea and Wes Brown for competition in defence, but Di Canio says that Cuellar remains in his thoughts.

"Although I have not used him yet, Carlos still has a part to play," he told the Sunderland Echo.

"I have got five centre-backs, which gives me a lot of options and I choose the combinations for different reasons. We need a mixture.

"I want us to bring the ball out from the back and for that we need players who are comfortable passing with both feet, which Diakite and Roberge are, and that's why I picked them ahead of Carlos against Arsenal.

"Diakite is a competitor, he is a good challenger. Roberge played well and, when he came out from the back, he passed the ball out of defence. He also has aggressivity.

"I prefer to play with these two, Diakite and Roberge, because they can communicate together better, because they both speak French.

"And I gave the captain's armband to Diakite when O'Shea was missing because I can speak to him in Italian. But I have to say the season is long, and Carlos will get his chance."

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e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

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