Sunderland AFC needs you! We’re backing the boys to stay in the Premier League #HawayTheLads

A Sunderland fan celebrating another win over Newcastle United.
A Sunderland fan celebrating another win over Newcastle United.
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CALLING all Black Cats fans: Your team needs you.

Following the weekend’s draw at Stoke City, Sunderland have now fallen into the Premier League relegation places with just five games of the season left.

The Echo is today encouraging supporters to pack out the Stadium of Light for this Saturday’s crunch clash with Southampton, kick-off 3pm.

Dick Advocaat’s team have four points from their last three games, but Leicester City and Hull City’s wins on Saturday mean the Wearsiders lie 18th.

Echo managing editor Gavin Foster said today: “Relegation from the Premier League would be a disaster for the team and the city.

“The team may have fallen into the drop zone at the weekend, but things are far from settled with five games left to play.

“We hope as many people get to the Stadium of Light for this Saturday’s match, pack out the Stadium of Light and help roar the Lads to victory.

“With your backing, I’m sure the team can pull off another escape.”

Editor of independent fanzine A Love Supreme Martyn McFadden said: “In the short-term, we need to support the team as best we can.

“There’s never been any doubt about the quality of our fans and hopefully the players can repay them on the pitch.

There’s never been any doubt about the quality of our fans and hopefully the players can repay them on the pitch.

Martyn McFadden, editor of A Love Supreme fanzine

“In the last three home games they were beaten by Aston Villa and Palace, which were as bad as it gets, and beat Newcastle, which is almost as good as it gets.

“There’s no reason why they can’t win on Saturday.”

We’ve got five pairs of tickets for Saturday’s match up for grabs, as SAFC look to avenge a humiliating 8-0 defeat by the Saints from earlier this campaign.

To be in with a chance of scooping a pair of tickets, simply tweet your name to @SunderlandEcho and include the hashtag #hawaythelads.

Entries will close at 1pm on Thursday and the winners will be notified before the weekend. Winners will have to direct message @SunderlandEcho with their full names, address and a contact telephone number. They will be able to pick up their prize from the ticket collection office in the west stand of the Stadium of Light in the hours leading up to Saturday’s game. Over 18s only.

What fans are thinking

WE visited the Stadium of Light to speak to fans ahead of the weekend’s crunch encounter.

Hollie Walker said she was optimistic for Sunderland ahead of the run-in.

“I don’t think we will go down,” said the 28-year-old, of Bedford, in Northumberland.

“There are other teams that are going to drop points as well as us.”

Neil Tighe also said he believes the Black Cats can beat the drop.

“If we win on Saturday, then I think we’ll stay up,” said Neil, 45, of South Shields.

“The fans are brilliant and I think they’ll be big for us on Saturday.”

Neil’s teenage son Connor, of Jarrow, however, was less hopeful.

“It’s the players’ fault we’re down there,” said Connor, 19.

“It’s been the same for years.

“If we get beaten on Saturday then I think that’s it.”

Fellow supporter Jason Halliwell shared Connor’s bleak outlook.

“I think we are down now,” said the 44-year-old.

“I’ve been to a few home games this season and the Palace one was terrible.

“I honestly don’t think there’s any chance that we will stop up.

“They just haven’t been good enough.”