SAFC 10 YEARS AGO: Nosworthy’s Black Cats warning

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting 10 years ago today.

DON’T DROP YOUR GUARD!

Nyron’s Cats warning

IN-FORM Nyron Nosworthy says Sunderland can’t afford to drop their guard as they prepare to face the Championship’s lesser lights.

The Black Cats emerged unbeaten with seven points from an epic run of games against top three sides Birmingham, Derby and West Brom.

A trip to struggling Barnsley is next on the agenda, but Nosworthy insists that could be just as difficult as the last trio of encounters against promotion rivals.

The centre-back said: “Teams want to beat Sunderland because this is a big club. We’re a scalp.

“At the same time we have to show we can go away and beat the smaller teams.

“There’s no point beating the big teams and then not taking care of the smaller teams. You need the same attitude for every game.

“Each game is going to be different. Birmingham and Derby were quite direct. West Brom passed it more. Some of the smaller teams we’ve played have passed the ball about quite well. We have managed to cope with most things that have been thrown at us lately and we have to continue that.

“Barnsley are scrapping to stay in this division. We’ll have a lot of fans down there but the home fans will be up for it, too.

“We’ll show Barnsley the same respect as we have Birmingham, Derby and West Brom and prepare properly for this game.”

Sunderland are unbeaten in the last ten, winning wight of those games. Last weekend’s 2-1 win at promotion rivals West Brom was a huge result, but the Wearsiders remain fourth and the heat is still on with Preston winning last night and Birmingham and Derby victorious at the weekend.

With the clubs around them also producing results, it’s vital Sunderland continue their positive run. Nosworthy admitted: “It’s hard not looking at the other clubs’ results and wishing they’d done badly because that would help us.

“Birmingham got another win under their belts and they have a game in hand, too.

“It would have been nice to hold on for the win at their place the other week because that would have put us in a stronger position.

“But that’s gone now and we have to do our jobs. We want to win every game from now until the end of the season. If we do that, what will be will be.”

There’s been a settled look to the Black Cats’ rearguard with Nosworthy, Danny Collins, Jonny Evans, and Danny Simpson striking up a rapport.

Sunderland have conceded only six goals in the last 12 Championship outings, keeping seven clean sheets in that time.

Nosworthy added: “We’re making it hard for teams. We’ve cut out the silly goals. We’re creating chanced at the other end and looking a lot more dangerous.

“We have to look back on our big games this season and see what we have to do. We have to keep our concentration right to the end of games because we know that we are always going to score so clean sheets are very important.

“The boys up front are looking very confident and so are the midfielders. If we do our job at the back then we will give ourselves a real change of promotion.”

ROWELL REPORT: TYKE THAT AND PARTY!

REGARDLESS of what happens over the rest of the season – be it play-offs or not, promotion or not – I think the abiding memory for me of the 2006-07 campaign will be the away days and the tremendous following Sunderland have had.

There have been so many good ones, although the games against Derby and Leeds stick out, and it has been a pleasure to be a part of that match-day experience.

This Saturday could be the best of the lot with Sunderland taking close to 8,000 fans down to Barnsley.

And what I would say to those fans is just to enjoy it, because opportunities like this don’t come around too often.

We’re all desperate to get out of this division.

We are all desperate to be in the Premiership playing against the big names, in the best stadiums and hopefully erasing bad memories of the last two top flight seasons.

But when you get there, you don’t get ticket allocations that size for away games and you don’t often get seasons where you win so many away games.

So, much as we’re all dreaming of being back in the Premiership tomorrow, let’s all enjoy the occasion today.

Taking 8,000 to Oakwell will create a real cup-tie atmosphere and I remember the impact Sunderland’s travelling fans had during the last promotion campaign when even more supporters took over Wigan’s JJB Stadium.

Doing the commentary with Crabbers for Magic 1152 on match-days, we’re always located in the main stand.

And I have to say that I love watching the away end filling up with red and white and the chants starting to roll out.

Whenever Sunderland score, it’s great to see thousands of Sunderland fans going mental.

So enjoy the Barnsley match-day on Saturday. We all want to be back in the Premiership but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t savour the Championship when things have been going as well as they have been recently.