DAVID Vaughan admits the pressure cooker will be at boiling point when Sunderland tackle fellow strugglers Wolves this weekend.
The Black Cats head to Molineux on Sunday locked side-by-side with Mick McCarthy’s men, just two points above the Premier League drop zone.
Supporters at both clubs have been left disenchanted with recent form, with Wolves taking three points from their last five games compared to Sunderland’s tally of five.
Sunderland midfielder Vaughan knows the magnitude of Sunday’s televised game and the boost it will hand the Black Cats if they can secure only a third win of the season.
Vaughan, speaking before Wednesday’s dismissal of boss Steve Bruce, told the Echo: “It probably puts more pressure on the game playing someone whose down there with us.
“There’s a lot riding on Sunday’s game, it’ll be a big one.
“There’s a lot of pressure on Wolves as well as us. They’re not doing as well as they’d like to be so I think both teams will be desperate for three points.
“But there’s still a long way to go in the season and if we can get some results together, we can climb up the league very quickly.
“We’ve lost ground on some teams who are where we want to be.
“But there’s going to be times in the season where others are struggling and hopefully we can capitalise on that and concentrate on getting as many points as we can.”
Vaughan admits it’s been a tough week at the Academy of Light after Sunderland suffered an injury-time defeat to bottom-of-the-pile Wigan last weekend.
But the 28-year-old insists there remains a feeling of positivity around the Sunderland camp and a determination to put things right.
“It’s been a tough few days,” said the Welsh international, who didn’t wish to talk publicly about the shock death of international boss Gary Speed.
“The Wigan game was a tough result, we had enough chances to win the game but it wasn’t to be.
“Everyone was deflated after the game, especially with conceding so late and the manner of the goal.
“We feel we let the fans down and ourselves down. Hopefully we can put it right against Wolves.
“We need a good performance on Sunday to get the fans back on our side and to show we’re keen to do well at Sunderland.
“The mood’s been fairly good since. Everyone’s keeping positive and we know we’ve got the quality in the squad to do well. We’ve just got to prove it on the pitch.
“Obviously, things aren’t going well, especially at home.
“But it’s important that we get some points on the road and get a bit of run going at home.”