MARTIN O’Neill is warning against complacency ahead of a run of home games.
Four of Sunderland’s next five games are at home and the fixture list is being seen for what it is – a great opportunity for the Black Cats to get points on the board.
But while the Sunderland boss acknowledges that fact, he is keen to get the message across that the points won’t just accumulate themselves.
The Black Cats have won just one of their four home league games this season and that was against a Wigan side reduced to 10 men for much of the second half.
The other three games resulted in draws against Liverpool and Newcastle United and a defeat to Aston Villa.
And O’Neill told the Echo: “All this run means is that the vast majority of games are being played at the Stadium of Light – that in itself does not guarantee us any more points.
“It is up to us to make that home advantage work in our favour.
“We’ve talked a lot about what a disadvantage it has been for us to play seven of our league games away from home this season compared to just four at the Stadium of Light so far.
“But it is important that we make sure we do well in our home games rather than risk taking them for granted.
“An important part of that is not to get ahead of ourselves and that’s what I’m determined we’ll do this weekend.
“There has been talk of two home games in a row coming up quickly with West Brom this Saturday and QPR next Tuesday but I’m not giving QPR a second thought right now.
“It is vital that we take one game at a time, that we devote our full attention to the job in hand and the job in hand is the game against West Brom this weekend.”
O’Neill has applauded the job that rookie manager Steve Clarke has done at The Hawthorns this season and says that only underlines the fact Sunderland must bring their best game to the ground tomorrow.
He said: “Steve is new to management and has made a great start but he had plenty of years coaching experience behind him before that and is putting it to good use.
“We know that they will be really difficult opponents tomorrow – they play good football and they don’t give up.
“But we have been improving week on week now and there’s an enthusiasm among the players for the fixtures coming up.
“We’ve just got to concentrate on our own game tomorrow and hope that the improvement we’ve shown in recent weeks can now be brought into a home game.”