STEVE Bruce is calling on his players to produce one more big performance against the last of the Premier League’s leading lights this weekend.
Sunderland have had some notable successes against the Premier League’s elite sides this season.
And the Black Cats boss reckons a good result in Sunday’s return against Manchester City, the world’s richest club, would set the Wearsiders up perfectly for a run-in which could yield a real points bonus at the tail end of the campaign.
Sunderland have beaten Manchester City once already this season, have beaten Chelsea too and drawn with Arsenal (twice) and Manchester United.
And Bruce reckons that his side has it in them to get one more decent result on Sunday.
“Man City are the last of the big hitters, so to speak, that we face this season,” he said.
“What we need is a performance like the one we had against Arsenal recently where we went down to the Emirates and came away with a good draw.
“If we go down there and play well, and have a go, then we’re more than capable of getting a good result.
“We know if we play like we did in the second half against Liverpool, it’s not going to happen for us.
“But injuries didn’t help us in the Liverpool game and, against City, we’ll have a much cleaner bill of health.
“We are looking forward to the challenge this weekend brings because we do have players coming back from injury and we are looking in increasingly better shape.”
City have a few absentees through injury and suspension and Bruce is keeping his fingers crossed that will benefit his team.
But he is pinning his hopes on a good Sunderland display rather than a poor City one.
“Man City have four or five players out and that disrupts even their squad,” he accepted.
“But we know how difficult opposition they’ll be at the weekend.
“Everywhere you look on the pitch they’ve got quality players. So we know we have to be at our best if we are to get something out of it.
“There’s no point in worrying about City’s strengths or weaknesses too much. We’ve just got to get out there and give a really good account of ourselves.”