ANTON FERDINAND hopes this weekend’s trip to Manchester City produces the same galvanising effect as August’s reverse fixture.
Darren Bent’s match-winning stoppage time penalty against Roberto Mancini’s side got Sunderland up and running for the season after the Black Cats had taken just a solitary point from their first two Premier League encounters.
It sparked a seven-game unbeaten run for Steve Bruce’s side and Ferdinand realises how much Sunderland would benefit from a similar outcome on Sunday after suffering five defeats out of their last six games.
Ferdinand said: “We needed that win at the start of the season to get us going and we could do with another now.
“The last six games haven’t gone the way we expected and we haven’t played to the standard we know we are capable of. But it is now time to get back to winning ways at the business end of the season.
“It won’t be easy against City though. They are heading in the right direction and they’ve been up in the top four where they want to be almost all season.
“It is hard to break into that top four, but they are there at the moment and they will be determined to stay there.
“City have the resources to do it and their results speak for themselves – I don’t understand why people keep saying Roberto Mancini is not a good manager.
“For a long time they were in the title race and they are still one of the favourites to finish in a Champions League place.”
Sunday’s clash marks the end of a harrowing run of seven games for Sunderland which has seen them face five top six sides.
After City, Sunderland’s final seven matches sees them face six teams still engulfed in the concertinaed relegation scrap.
“This is the last game of the run we have had against the big teams before we play some of the teams fighting for their lives down the bottom of the table,” said Ferdinand.
“We seem to do well against the big sides – we’ve taken points off all the top six this season – and if we can get something on Sunday, it will have been a great season for us in that sense.
“That shows how far we have come.
“But of course we also have to make sure we don’t fall flat on our face in the next seven games against the so-called lesser clubs we should be beating.
“We haven’t done that this year though and that’s why we are in the position we are.”
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Former West Ham defender Ferdinand is set to continue at right-back tomorrow with on-loan Nedum Onuoha ineligible to play against his parent club.
Ferdinand has shaken off the injury which saw him struggling during the second half in Sunderland’s last outing against Liverpool two weeks ago.
The 26-year-old added: “I jarred the bottom of my knee and my ankle, but it was okay and I didn’t need to come off against Liverpool.
“Anyway I am fine now. The two-week break has done me good in that respect.”