SAFC 10 YEARS AGO: Stern John says Sunderland must hold their nerve

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

HOLD YOUR NERVE!

Cats must keep run going to win promotion

STRIKER Stern John says that Sunderland must hold their nerve and show great consistency to win automatic promotion.

The recent signing is delighted that Sunderland are the most consistent side in the division this year, but says they must keep that form going.

“I’m having a great time at Sunderland and while I have settled in really quickly, it has been made a lot easier by the fact that we have been getting so many good results,” he said.

“We have a chance to get promoted automatically this season now but if we are going to do that, we have to show the same sort of consistency as we’ve displayed since I came here.

“I’ve been promoted from this division before – with Birmingham City – and what I know is that to finish in the top two you have to go on long, good runs where you don’t lose matches.

“You have to put in displays where you turn draws into wins and you turn possible defeats into draws.”

Sunderland showed that sort of determination in their 2-2 draw with Stoke City on Tuesday, where they battled until the final whistle to salvage a point.

And it was that sort of fighting spirit and self-belief which the Trinidad and Tobago international believes could prove crucial to Sunderland’s automatic promotion hopes.

He said: “The main thing is to stay unbeaten because that builds confidence and it means that even when you aren’t at your best you keep the points total ticking over. In this division this season there doesn’t seem to have been much consistency among the sides.

“Results like Hull City at the bottom, beating Birmingham City at the top, have been quite common. And that is why no one has run away with the league yet, it’s why so many teams are bunched up at the top of the table.

“The team that wins the league this season and the team that gets promoted alongside them will be the teams that show the sort of consistency that we have over the last few months.

“The team has done really well to have stayed undefeated in 2007 and that run has given us a real chance. But we all know that there is a long way to go yet and a lot of hard work involved to make a breakthrough at the top of the table.

“What these last few games have show is that we have the squad and the attitude to compete with the very top sides. And we have to keep that form going between now and the end of the season.”