Fletcher backs Altidore to hit the goal trail as Sunderland team-mates prepare to go head-to-head

By Colin Young

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He may not have scored a Premier League goal for Sunderland yet but Jozy Altidore has won the full support of strike partner Steven Fletcher and his Mackem team-mates.

And such is the impact the American forward has made on his team-mates at the Stadium of Light, Fletcher says he will be doing everything he can to avoid the 4million summer signing when their countries clash at Hampden Park on Friday night.

Fletcher and Altidore did not start last week’s win over Manchester City but they have made a handful of unsuccessful starts, most notably at Hull.

Faith: Steven Fletcher believes his Sunderland strike partner Jozy Altidore will start finding the back of the net soon

Faith: Steven Fletcher believes his Sunderland strike partner Jozy Altidore will start finding the back of the net soon

No way through: Altidore is yet to score a league goal for Sunderland since joining the club during the summer transfer window

No way through: Altidore is yet to score a league goal for Sunderland since joining the club during the summer transfer window

But last season’s top scorer Fletcher has backed Altidore to prove the doubters wrong.

Fletcher said: 'I think I will bounce off Jozy if I go anywhere near him. Have you seen the size of the lad?

'He has done really well since he joined the club. He has really put himself about on the pitch and his work rate is amazing. I think you have to look at everything he has brought to the club and not look at him purely in terms of goals.

Finding his feet: Fletcher has struggled for form and fitness for the Black Cats this season

Finding his feet: Fletcher has struggled for form and fitness for the Black Cats this season

'He set up both goals against Southampton as well as the winner against Newcastle and there is no way anyone should be complaining. He is a 100 per cent committed player every time and the goals will definitely come.  

'Jozy has settled in really well and he has been doing a fantastic job at the club. He is the sort of player who you know every time he goes on the pitch will give everything and that’s the sort of player we need right now.

Head to head: Altidore will go up against Fletcher at Hampden Park on Friday night

Head to head: Altidore will go up against Fletcher at Hampden Park on Friday night

'In fact, it’s the sort of player every club needs. Jozy will want to score a few more goals as all strikers do, but they will come. The important thing is he is contributing and in his last few games he has been one of our best and most consistent players.

'His attitude is first class and that’s one of the reasons why he has been such a success at both club and international level. His goalscoring record for USA is incredible and that shows what a fine player he is.'

 


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