Much talk of late has been about Sunderland being outside contenders for Premier League relegation this season and Steve Bruce has labelled their next two games as potentially pivotal in preventing this eventuality.
One point from their last nine Premier League games has seen Sunderland plummet down the table from likely top-six finishers to the brink of the relegation zone.
Sunderland’s odds are 10/1 to be relegated this season and they are currently five points clear of Blackpool in 18th spot with five games remaining.
The one bright spot for Sunderland is that three of these games are at home, with winnable home fixtures against Wigan and Fulham up next.
Bruce was happy with the performance of his team in their latest defeat at Birmingham and feels that playing in the same way over the remainder of the season will easily be enough to secure their Premier League survival.
He told Journal Live: “We’ve got back-to-back home games and if we play with the same refreshing attitude we have played with at Birmingham, surely we will be okay. It’s not easy at the minute, but we’ve got to stay with it and stay strong.
“It’s incredible what has happened really, but you can’t take anything for granted in this league. We’ve been up against it for the last couple of months. The only thing you can do is accept the challenge.”
The January departure of Darren Bent to Aston Villa is one obvious reason for their slump in form as they have only managed nine goals since his move.
However, Bruce believes that a sudden problem in keeping clean sheets has also been largely to blame, with Sunderland letting in 24 goals in their last ten games.
Sunderland host Wigan next and are 10/11 in the Premier League odds to take maximum points.
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