Mackems need to keep one eye on the chasing pack

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Another exciting weekend of Premier League action has brought about another potential twist in the fight for survival. Now with little more than two months remaining of the season, could Sunderland be the outside value to be plying their trade in the Championship next season?

Earlier in the week, a 1-1 draw against Norwich would perhaps have seemed a perfectly acceptable result. But with three of the five teams below them picking up maximum points this weekend, the Mackems look to be on course for a relegation dogfight.

Four defeats in their last six definitely looks ominous for the Wearside club, and at a top price 4/1 available at Ladbrokes, they certainly look the value bet for the drop.

Their prospective run-in towards the end of the season certainly won’t fill even the most confident Black Cats fan with optimism. With trips to Chelsea and Tottenham, as well as visits from Manchester United and Everton on the horizon, it could be a struggle for survival.

Conversely, fellow relegation candidates Wigan have been improving of late, and with four wins in five,  Latics fans will be hopeful they can pull out of the bottom three before long. Coupled with an arguably easier run-in things may look brighter at the DW Stadium.

While wins in recent weeks for Aston Villa, Southampton and QPR definitely add excitement to the end of the season, they are sure to be doing nothing for the confidence of the Stadium of Light faithful.

An over-reliance on Steven Fletcher could also spell trouble for Sunderland. The £12 million pound striker has contributed exactly one third of the clubs goals this term, and it is hard to see where the points would come from should he ruled out through injury or suspension.

In summary, 4/1 about an out of form side, with a tricky next few games and a worrying dependency on one man is well worth snapping up in a potentially volatile relegation market, that could quite easily swing drastically within a few weeks.

All odds and markets correct as of the  date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.