Sunderland’s fortunes at the Stadium of Light will be crucial towards the Black Cats’ survival hopes, insists Sam Allardyce.
Allardyce will attempt to register a second successive home win tomorrow after Sunderland finally registered an elusive opening victory of the campaign against Newcastle a fortnight ago.
The Stadium of Light has not been a happy hunting ground for Sunderland over recent seasons – the Black Cats failing to win more than five home games in a solitary campaign since 2011-12.
But Allardyce says that homesickness will have to be cured if second-bottom Sunderland are to stand a chance of preserving their Premier League existence.
He said: “If anything is going to keep us up, it’s going to be our home results. There’s no doubt about that.
“When you’re a team that’s struggling, your 12th man has to be your fans.
“We have to give them something to shout about.
“They made a huge difference against Newcastle, because we didn’t actually play that well and managed to win.
“The end result has to be a win. The performance? We’d like it to be magnificent, but winning is everything for us now and sometimes we’ll have to take it on the chin that the opposition is better than we are and we have to dig in.
“The crowd has to be patient with us and hopefully, in the end, we can all get the reward by exposing them and scoring one more goal than they do.”
Sunderland face 16 days without a Premier League game after this weekend’s encounter, with Allardyce’s side returning to action after the international break at Crystal Palace on Monday, November 23.
Allardyce would relish a boost prior to the fortnight’s hiatus, but realises the magnitude of Sunderland’s task against a Southampton side unbeaten on the road this season.
“Every international break is nice if you go in with a positive result, especially a win in our position,” he added.
“To achieve that victory will mean that every player is at their 100 per cent best against Southampton.
“You look at the position of that team, and the position of our team, and it tells you that if we are to beat Southampton, we need to be on top of our game, clinical, ruthless and defensively very, very sound.”