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The Ireland international believes the Black Cats can cause Roberto Mancini's side "lots of problems" at the Stadium of Light and has called for the fans to get behind the team

Sunderland defender John O’Shea has warned his team-mates they face a tough task when they host Premier League leaders Manchester City on New Year’s Day but is adamant the Wearsiders "shouldn't be scared of anyone".

Since the arrival of Martin O’Neill earlier this month the Black Cats have moved away from the relegation zone taking seven points out of a possible 12.

The former Manchester United man believes with the support of the crowd at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland can cause City problems and get a result out of the game.

He told the club’s official website: "We know it's going to be tough but we have to go into the game with confidence. The way the team's performing at the minute, we shouldn't be scared of anyone.

"With the attacking talent City have we must perform on the day, but we'll be able to cause them lots of problems.

"That's especially so with the fans behind us. They don't sometimes realise what an effect they can have on the team and we're going to need that for the next home game."

O’Shea also believe it’s important for the Black Cats to have a short term focus in a busy spell of fixtures which sees them play City and Wigan within two days.

"We know it's a busy period with just a day in between the two games," he explained. "I'm sure the manager will be preparing for that.

"But we have to stay focused. Once we have dealt with the City game we'll have a think about Wigan."

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