Chris Coleman has this message for Sunderland squad ahead of 'season defining' Easter fixtures

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.
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Chris Coleman believes the Easter fixtures will be 'season defining' for Sunderland - who have just eight games to avoid successive relegations.

Sunderland, five points adrift at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship, are facing the prospect of back-to-back relegations ahead of the Good Friday trip to Derby County.

The Black Cats then face Sheffield Wednesday on Easter Monday.

Without a win in 10 games, Coleman admits he is worried by the situation facing Sunderland but insists with 24 points still to play for, there is still time to pull off another survival act.

Coleman says the international break has been a welcome one, with the break in league fixtures giving the squad chance to recharge their batteries ahead of the run-in.

Coleman said: "It’s quite worrying that we can’t seem to get away from where we are.

"Nevertheless, with eight games there are still points to be had. There are still opportunities to be had despite them getting smaller.

"With every game that passes the task gets tougher and tougher, but I think this break has been a welcome one.

"We will recharge our batteries and I think next weekend will be a defining weekend for everybody.

"We have to look at it as though Derby County is our last game of the season and try to get a result.

"Once you start looking beyond that you are on dodgy ground.

"We have to throw everything into it. We are lacking confidence and belief in certain areas.

"We go into things with the best intentions but there seems to be an acceptance that when something goes wrong, it is never going to go right.

"I know what football is like whether it’s good or bad and for us we have got to keep thinking it can change.

"Even if we win and teams around us don’t, we won’t move out of the bottom three but what we will do is give the teams a scare.

"We are still here despite being written off. Remember us? We’ve still got something to say and we can only do that with three points."