Football - O'Neill not being Short with Ellis

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill insists naming only six substitutes for their FA Cup third-round draw at Bolton was not meant as a message to owner Ellis Short.

PA Sport

O'Neill, who saw his side recover from 2-0 down against the npower Championship club to draw 2-2, said the American was aware of the team's plight and wanted to improve the depth of the playing resources.

"It was not a point whatsoever, it is the way things fell," said the Northern Irishman, whose selection problems mounted with the loss of defenders Danny Rose and Carlos Cuellar to injury.

"I think I get on reasonably okay with the owner. He is well aware so I think he wants to do something about it.

"We had a couple of injuries and illnesses, we don't have the biggest squad and we were really stretched but we've lost a couple more.

"We are trying to do something about it if we can, we need to. We couldn't change it much because we couldn't fill the bench but we treat the competition with its proper merit.

"I don't care how many games we play - I'm told it's five in 15 days - we wanted to be in the competition and do well in it.

"We had 5,000 people spend a lot of hard-earned money to come down and support us and they deserved better than we were serving up in the first half."

On the introduction of Wickham, O'Neill added: "Connor was great. It was a great contribution, was good to get the goal and a great confidence booster for him.

"I think that is the first time he has been on the field with Steven Fletcher and, although you can't make every judgement in 35 minutes, it looks like they could play together."

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