IN THEORY, Sunderland’s clash with Crystal Palace this weekend has been made a little bit easier by the win over Newcastle.
But I think we’re all aware of our record after derby wins.
Anything less than a win on Saturday will devalue all the hard work put in to beating Newcastle and if we can get back-to-back wins, it will give us a great chance of survival again this season
At least we aren’t facing Hull, but Palace will still be difficult opponents and Sunderland have got to start taking advantage of the feel-good factor that they will have this weekend.
Anything less than three points on Saturday will devalue all the hard work put in to beating Newcastle and if we can get back-to-back wins, it will give us a great chance of survival again this season.
We’ve already beaten Palace at Selhurst Park, so there’s no reason why we can’t beat them at home to record a second double in six days.
However, Palace are better now than when we played them back in November, and players like Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha are all talented young footballers, with the pace and ability to cause problems to any defence.
They also have a manager in Alan Pardew who certainly won’t want to do Sunderland any favours after suffering plenty of North East derby defeats, which damaged him badly while in charge of Newcastle.
Palace have won five times on the road this season and have actually picked up more points on their travels than at Selhurst Park. They’ll see a trip to Sunderland as a chance to improve that impressive away record.
But the Stadium of Light will be bouncing on Saturday, the derby win has lifted everybody, the players’ confidence looks restored and the fans believe in the team again.
Dick Advocaat will be desperate to avoid an ‘after the lord mayor’s show’ against Palace, and will be demanding his team continue their upwards momentum, as there’s still plenty of work to be done if the scrap against relegation is going to be a successful one.