Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is looking forward to a busy festive programme.

He may be a fan of a more spread-out fixture list, but O'Neill is hoping it can work for them again.

"The reason the Christmas period has become so important is the number of games in quick succession," he said. "It took us eight or nine weeks to complete six or seven games with international breaks and that.

"Suddenly now you're playing four games in quick succession and it can make a major difference to the course of the season."