Sunderland chasing best ever league run of away clean sheets at Manchester City

Santiago Vergini defies Villa striker Christian Benteke in Sunday's fourth straight away clean sheet

Santiago Vergini defies Villa striker Christian Benteke in Sunday's fourth straight away clean sheet

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SUNDERLAND head to Manchester City looking to extend their impressive run of away clean sheets to five.

Sunday’s goalless draw at Aston Villa took the Black Cats’ run to four, following games against Leicester (0-0), Liverpool (0-0) and Newcastle (1-0).

And no living person has seen the Wearsiders achieve that before in the top flight.

The club has managed four successive away league shut-outs only twice before – just once in the top division, and that was away back in 1901/02, featuring games against Villa and Liverpool as in the current run.

That season, Sunderland managed their only five-game run of clean sheets on the road, incorporating an FA Cup victory at Sheffield Wednesday.

Since then, the Red and Whites have managed three further four-game runs, two of which included cup ties.

In Ken Knighton’s promotion-winning Second Division campaign, in 1979/80, Sunderland shut out QPR in a goalless draw before winning without conceding at Charlton, Notts County and Wrexham.

Denis Smith’s first season in charge of Sunderland, the Third Division title year of 1987/88, also brought a four-game run, with good league successes at Fulham, Blackpool and Bristol City followed by a 3-0 win at Scarborough in the Sherpa Van Trophy (now known as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy).

Malcolm Crosby was in charge for four straight clean sheets in 1992/93, topped off by a 2-0 FA Cup win at Notts County.