Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill admits his excuse for his team not being match-fit is wearing thin but still feels it is vindicated.

The Black Cats drew 1-1 with Liverpool on the weekend and O'Neill feels like it could have been a more positive result if the likes of Stephane Sessegnon and goalscorer Steven Fletcher were fully fit.

"I appreciate that the 'lack of pre-season' excuse is wearing pretty thin," said O'Neill.

"We're so many weeks into the season that even I'd expect to be match-fit by now.

"But there's no getting away from the fact that it's there and it's something we are working on.

"Steven Fletcher hasn't had a pre-season, but he's much fitter than he was against Swansea a couple of weeks ago and he almost finished the game against Liverpool.

"Stephane Sessegnon? It's just not happening for him at the moment, then there was Danny Rose, who I think will be a decent player. When he gets his fitness, he will impress."

 Click here to reach the No1 destination for hard news and exciting gossip on Sunderland