David Preece: The time’s come – throw off the shackles and go all out for victory

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce

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Saying this Saturday’s game against Norwich City is a must-win is a bit like saying it gets dark at night. Obvious and a waste of 21 words.

But it is that straight-forward and simple. With so much riding on the game, the biggest dilemma for Sam is how to approach it tactically.

Both sides have almost identical stats in every department but the one that matters most, the wins column, and it’s only an extra notch in that column next to Sunderland’s name will do for them to survive.

This isn’t a time for a cagey affair then losing a scrappy goal in the last ten minutes and living with the regret of not going for it with more aggression and positivity. It’s a time for throwing caution to the wind and trusting in that the performances and the missed opportunities of late will eventual turn into solid gold wins.

Despite their two vital wins against West Brom and Newcastle and a recent tightening up of their defence, there is still a fragility about their back line and play in wide areas will prove to be crucial.

Both clubs have conceded 10 goals from headers and after watching both sides the season, I think this game will boil down to who defends crosses and set pieces the best. If Sam’s men can concentrating on stemming the flow of crosses from wide areas and don’t give needless fouls away which provides them with easy opportunities to do so.

The position the club find itself in now means it really is time just to go toe-to-toe with Alex Neil’s men and trust the standard of performance shown of late will be enough to win.