Rowell Report: Cardiff clash now vital for Sunderland’s survival

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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THE tag ‘biggest game of the season’, is often over-used.

But it definitely applies when Sunderland play Cardiff City this Sunday.

The two away games at Manchester City and Chelsea have given Sunderland genuine hope of staying up.

But those great performances will have been in vain if we fail to beat Cardiff City.

Sunderland have proved they can mix it with the best in the Premier League but they have also proved time after time that they let themselves and the fans down when it comes to the winnable games.

This weekend’s game certainly comes into that winnable category, as Cardiff have only won twice on their travels, scoring just 12 goals away from home all season.

There can be no excuses. Fans are back on side as they have witnessed Sunderland perform heroically in the last two games and they will be right behind them from the start at Cardiff.

Sunday’s game is bound to be nervy and full of tension, with both teams fighting for their lives and the pressure will be enormous, so the players need to deal with it and keep their composure in what will be a pressure-cooker atmosphere.

Ex-Sunderland players Fraizer Campbell and Kenwyne Jones will be out to damage their former club. And Campbell in particular has scored some important match-winning goals for Cardiff and will need close attention.

A win for Sunderland would see them leapfrog Cardiff with a game in hand and surely they don’t need greater incentive than that.

On the occasions that Sunderland have got some momentum behind them and built up a feel-good factor in this crazy season, they have somehow managed to mess it up, usually with a poor performance against a struggling team.

Sunday’s game gives them a chance to change all that and from now to kick-off time the players and staff must focus all their energies on securing the win we desperately need.