Sunderland skipper Dean Whitehead is confident the range of talents in the club's midfield can help them climb the Barclays Premier League table.

The summer arrival of Steed Malbranque from Tottenham has brought a new element to that area of the field, where Whitehead, Andy Reid and, more recently, Kieran Richardson have become fixtures, and where Dwight Yorke's experience is proving invaluable.

"We have got a great mix. We have got players who are good on the ball, we have got players who can run at players, we have got players who tackle and break the play up," said Whitehead. "We have got a good blend in there, so it's looking quite good at the moment."

Whitehead has been impressed in particular by the impact 28-year-old Malbranque has made.

The Frenchman has started all seven of the club's league games to date, and will hope to maintain that record as the Wearsiders head for his former club Fulham this weekend.

Whitehead said: "Steed has been very good. You can see he has got quality, he has got a good football brain and he will only bring out the best in other players around him.

"You give him the ball and you expect something to happen. He does that regularly, so we are looking forward to everyone gelling and kicking on in the rest of the season."

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