Chris Coleman pens open letter to Sunderland fans ahead of Sheffield Wednesday test
Chris Coleman has penned an open letter to Sunderland fans ahead of the huge game with Sheffield Wednesday on Easter Monday.
Sunderland have just seven games remaining to avoid successive relegations but survival hopes were given a timely boost with the 4-1 demolition of Derby County at Pride Park on Good Friday.
Victory saw Sunderland climb off the foot of the table and to within three points of safety.
Birmingham City's 1-0 win over Ipswich Town on Saturday saw the gap to safety increase to five points ahead of the game with Sheffield Wednesday at the Stadium of Light on Monday (KO 3pm).
Despite the win for Garry Monk's side, Sunderland's confidence has been given a much-needed shot in the arm for the run-in with Coleman targeting back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Coleman says Monday is the biggest game of the season so far and has called on everyone to help make the Stadium of Light a fortress again.
"The dust has settled and it’s time to go again," wrote Coleman.
"Easter Monday’s game against Sheffield Wednesday is the biggest of our season so far, as we aim to build on a cracking win at Derby County.
"Let’s make no bones about it, the Stadium of Light hasn’t been an easy place for us to play at this season and there’s been little for you to cheer about, with victories few and far between.
"As a manager and as players we have to own that, and front up to it.
"Back in August, 30,000 of you turned up to watch us begin our season with a point against Derby.
"I’m sure many of you arrived that day believing we would be promotion contenders, while others predicted a solid campaign which would provide a platform to build from.
"Few, if any, thought we would be scrapping for our lives with seven games remaining.
"Okay, there will be no promotion party, no race for the top-six, or even a boring end to an average season, but none of that matters right now.
"As a club, we need to put everything else to one side and fight for our future because, as we all know, it is worth fighting for.
"On Friday, we reminded everyone that we’re still here and we will not give up, but we need to do it again on Monday and then again after that.
"As a team, we can’t do it alone. We need each and every one of you.
"Perhaps we don’t deserve it, believe me I know this has been a tough season, and we can’t fix what we need to repair overnight.
"But this club is worth fighting for, you know it and I know it.
"We all feel it each and every time the first whistle sounds.
"You can make it nigh on impossible for teams to play here, while giving us the confidence and belief we need to beat anyone.
"So, let’s put it all to one side. And, for now, forget about everything other than Monday’s game and how good it will feel if we’ve clinched back-to-back wins come 5pm.
"Together, we can turn this around."