Tony Mowbray explains why Sunderland's tough run-in could actually be a 'positive' for his players

Tony Mowbray hopes that Sunderland's challenging run-in can turn out to be a positive for his players as they try and take their play-off push right to the wire.
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The Black Cats have found it difficult at home turf since season-ending injuries to Ross Stewart and Corry Evans left them without a recognised striker or holding midfielder. While Amad's brilliant goal sealed a vital win against Birmingham City, there was familiar frustration on Tuesday night as Huddersfield Town fought back to seal a 1-1 draw.

Results by and large went in Sunderland's favour on Wednesday, however, meaning their top-six aspirations remain just about intact ahead of Sunday's trip to the Hawthorns.

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Mowbray said it was a frustrated dressing room after the draw with Neil Warnock's side but told his players to keep being positive ahead of the run-in. The head coach knows the scale of the challenge ahead but hopes the games will allow his team more of the space in which they thrive.

Joe Gelhardt scores for Sunderland against Huddersfield Town in midweekJoe Gelhardt scores for Sunderland against Huddersfield Town in midweek
Joe Gelhardt scores for Sunderland against Huddersfield Town in midweek

"We're frustrated and disappointed, we knew we had an opportunity with these two home games to potentially get six points," he said.

"We've now got three tough games coming up against teams with similar aspirations to us, but maybe that's a positive - if we can go to West Brom and get three points then this might end up being an OK point.

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"We have to stay confident and believe, and be positive. The group of players we have available at the moment, it can sometimes suit us to play away from home because we do have the chance to play in the spaces. Teams generally attack you and if we can be really solid as we have been in our recent away fixtures, and we can find the spaces to play, then we can give teams problems.

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"There's no fear for us, we'll be well prepared and hopefully we can go and get the three points that make the last two games of the season really exciting."

Mowbray is hoping that Edouard Michut will recover from a back complaint to take his place in the squad, while Dennis Cirkin will be available again following his suspension.