JOHN O’Shea says it would be “special” if Sunderland could guarantee their Premier League status tonight in front of a near full house Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats’ captain has been thrilled by the way his side has rescued a survival cause which seemed all but lost just a few short weeks ago.
And he now he says he would love to complete the rescue mission this evening with a result over West Brom which would avoid Sunderland facing any pressure in the last day of the season game against Swansea City this Sunday.
In the wake of Sunderland’s first victory at the home of his former club Manchester United in 46 years at the weekend, he told the Echo: “It has been a fantastic achievement the way the manager and the lads have turned things around these last few weeks.
“But now we want to finish the job and we want to finish it in style.
“The performances at Man City, Chelsea and Man United and the big win over Cardiff City changed everything and put us in a great position.
“It would have been nice if Chelsea could have done us a favour at Norwich City on Sunday and got the result which would have confirmed we were staying up.
“But we have never really thought about the need to rely on others when we went on this good run - we’ve wanted to get out of it under our own steam, we’ve just want to keep on winning as many games as possible.
“And it would be even more special, I guess, if we were able to accomplish it by ourselves, in front of a massive home crowd tonight.
“There’s going to be well over 40,000 of our supporters at the Stadium of Light and it would be great if they could celebrate properly, together.”
The 33-year-old spent more than a decade of his career at Old Trafford before signing a four-year contract with Sunderland in 2011.
Last year, he was made captain of the club and despite his long association with Man United, has developed a real sense of pride and belonging to Sunderland which he says is shared by his team-mates.
He said: “We wouldn’t have been able to do what we’ve done if we all weren’t desperate for this club to stay in the Premier League.
“We’re proud to be playing for Sunderland Football Club and we know how much it means to the fans, to the city, to the people who work at the club for it to be in the top flight.
“No-one wants to see Sunderland go through what comes with relegation and we were determined to give absolutely everything to make sure it didn’t happen.
“We’re so close, but now we’ve got the chance to finish the job, and we intend to do just that.”