Chris Coleman on Sunderland's '˜brilliant' away support and the difference they'll make at Loftus Road

Chris Coleman knows first hand the difference away supporters can make at Loftus Road and has called on his team to match their passion on the pitch.
Sunderland fans celebrate Bryan Oviedo's goal at Millwall.Sunderland fans celebrate Bryan Oviedo's goal at Millwall.
Sunderland fans celebrate Bryan Oviedo's goal at Millwall.

Coleman’s first job in management was at Fulham, who played the 2002/03 season at the home of QPR as they revamped Craven Cottage.

After 2,000 fans made the trip to Millwall last weekend, another 1,500 are expected to take their place in the away end this afternoon.

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Sunderland have won just three times on the road this season, a woeful record but one still marginally better than their efforts at the Stadium of Light.

Coleman said: “We saw the support we got at Millwall, it was brilliant – fabulous support.

“The supporters who do all that travelling, that get up at all hours of the morning, spend all sorts of money following us, even where we are now, I can’t thank them enough.

“I remember going to Loftus Road in my first year in management with Fulham and when you have the away fans there behind the goal, it’s powerful.

“We have to use that.

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“Our fans will be there in numbers again – 1,500 or 2,000 of them – and we saw at Millwall that when we played with a bit of grit, they responded to that.

“But they will respond the other way if we don’t do that, there’s no grey area in between.

“They need to see us at Loftus Road playing, first and foremost, with a bit of fire in our bellies.

“If we have that, it will be a good 90 minutes.”

Coleman admitted after the 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa in midweek that playing away from home might by his team’s ‘saving grace’ this weekend as they seek to land three essential points in the battle to beat the drop.