Rowell Report: Norwich game is a cup final!

Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
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DUE TO our dismal current form, this Sunday’s game against Norwich has now taken on huge significance.

Throw in the fact we play Man United and Chelsea in our following two fixtures and it becomes even more important.

Since 1985 when Sunderland and Norwich contested the Milk Cup final, there’s traditionally been a good relationship between the two clubs and their fans.

But on the pitch this weekendSunderland need to be fully prepared to show their ruthless side because we desperately need a win and the three points that go with it.

In our situation and the form we are in, we cannot afford to be too fussy and I would take an ugly, scrappy 1-0 win right now.

A high-scoring entertaining game would be great but sometimes the result is the most important thing and this is such a game if we are not to be dragged further down the table.

Much is being made of this six point cushion we have between ourselves and the bottom three but Wigan have a game in hand and should they win that then that gap is only three points.

And that is far too close for comfort.

Norwich are sitting one place higher than us in the table with three points more, so any sort of win for us and we go above them in the table due to our better goal difference.

Norwich are also not the greatest of travellers with only one away win this season, scoring only 11 times on the road in all.

But we were saying similar things about the visit of Fulham to the Stadium of Light recently and we didn’t win that game

There are bound to be nerves and tension around on Sunday both on and off the pitch. This is what happens when a team is on a bad run.

But I know for sure that our fans will stay with the players and give them total support as long as they see the team showing desire and giving absolutely everything.

So, a massive game for us on Sunday, definitely one of the biggest of the season.

In fact you could make a case for it being the biggest of the season – in its own way a cup final of sorts - and one in which Sunderland cannot afford to fail.

Win it and it hugely eases things for us, lose it we come right back into the relegation frame.

To read the rest of the Rowell Report, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.