Echo Jury: It’s crunch time for Sunderland and we need to see off Stoke

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THE well-worn cliche of one game at a time is certainly truer than ever regarding the next few weeks, writes Tony Potts.

This time last week, we started a 10-day period which could see us at Wembley, in the fifth round of the FA Cup, out of the bottom three and doing the double over the Mags.

Well, the first two objectives have been achieved and hopefully the third will occur tonight.

Prior to the game at the Britannia, I mentioned that we rarely, if ever, have a good-quality game against Stoke and I doubt if tonight will be any different.

Although we are on a goodish run and spirits should be sky high, we have actually gone five league games without a win at home.

Stoke were awful against Chelsea but could still pose a threat tonight. Hopefully our first-choice XI will all try and put any thoughts of the derby or Wembley out of their minds and realise just how important three points are tonight.

If we can do that and Brown, O’Shea et al can cope with the physical side of things, we must surely be able to take a chance or two.

I still worry about our ability to score enough goals and wonder if Wickham, fresh from a good spell on loan, might be a sensible choice, certainly for a place on the bench.

Prediction: Sunderland 2 Stoke 1