BILLY JONES admits this weekend’s visit of his former club West Brom can’t come soon enough to lift the mood on Wearside.
Back-to-back defeats to QPR and League One Bradford have seen the dark clouds swirling over the Stadium of Light after Gus Poyet’s men had appeared to have turned a corner, following the January capture of Jermain Defoe.
Victory against QPR could have seen Sunderland take a giant leap towards Premier League survival, while the Black Cats fluffed the chance to progress into the quarter-finals of the cup after humiliation at Valley Parade.
The manner of the cup exit, in particular, has prompted plenty of flak in Sunderland and Poyet’s direction, even though the Wearsiders have not occupied a place in the relegation zone all season.
But right-back Jones knows that if Sunderland can secure three points against the Baggies on Saturday, then the complexion of the campaign will immediately look brighter.
“After a result like that and a performance like that, you just want to quickly move on and the next game can’t come soon enough,” said Jones.
“We move on to a massive home game now against West Brom, which we could do with winning.
“Performance-wise at Bradford, we didn’t show the quality that we know we possess to get the result there.
“They worked hard which we knew was coming, they got that early goal and went from there.”
He added: “Coming to the Stadium of Light, it does get talked about in that away dressing room – let’s have a good start, frustrate the team and try to frustrate the fans.
“Contrary to that, we know we need to make a really good start against West Brom and get the fans right behind us from the word go.
“If we can do that, I think they will stay right behind us for the full 90 minutes.
“We knew that game against QPR could have been a turning point and we’re disappointed we didn’t capitalise on that.
“But now we know that if we can get this win against West Brom, the whole place, the whole feel in general will be a lot more positive.”
Jones endured a miserable afternoon at Bradford after the defender looked desperately short on match sharpness, following his return to the side from yet another hamstring problem.
The 27-year-old’s maiden campaign has been beset by hamstring injuries after arriving on a Bosman deal from the Hawthorns last summer.
But he hopes to play a part during the season’s finale and ensure Sunderland secure the points needed for Premier League survival.
“It’s been a nightmare (the injuries)” he said.
“It’s the worst-case scenario.
“You have aims and plans at the start of the season as every player does and it hasn’t worked out that way. It’s been really frustrating.
“You just try to remain positive when you can.
“There’s 13 Premier League games left and I just hope I can make an impact on the season from now on.
“If I get the chance to play against West Brom, I just hope I can take it and we can get the win.”