WITH the West Ham match out of the way, all the focus now turns to the derby game, a week on Sunday.
As if any game against Newcastle wasn’t big enough, it now takes on even greater importance, given Sunderland’s desperate position in the Premier League.
With Crystal Palace due at the Stadium of Light after the derby game, Sunderland have two consecutive home matches, and it’s no exaggeration to say those two fixtures could determine our season.
With away games at Stoke, Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea, who could confidently predict many points coming from those games? So the home fixtures are going to be an opportunity Sunderland can’t afford to squander.
To do that, Sunderland must turn around an abysmal record of just two victories at the Stadium of Light, and there’s got to be a massive improvement on the last home game against Aston Villa, where the players looked paralysed by fear.
The next two games are huge, and Sunderland have got to be looking at a minimum of four points from the six on offer.
Anything less, and it’s going to be a gut-wrenching end to the season, something Sunderland fans are not unfamiliar with.