Sunderland will face Norwich on Saturday lunchtime backed by a sold out allocation, despite the 12.45pm kick off time with Sam Allardyce warning his players that “there is no margin for error.”
City hold a four point advantage over the Black Cats and have five games to play, although the visitors have a further game in hand. Allardyce knows that there is now no room for error if Sunderland want to extend their stay in the Premier League.
There will be massive pressure on both sides and Allardyce says it will come down to bottle and who can deal with the occasion the better.
Allardyce said: ‘It is who will handle the pressure the best?
‘I have been in this position many times and this club has come out of this position over the past four seasons and the players here need to manage the situation in the same way.
‘We have to handle the pressure and produce better under that pressure than Norwich do.
‘There is no margin for error anymore. We have to face up to that and if we do, then we can be successful.
‘I believe they can, the players have to believe it themselves.
‘It is a very experienced team and we need to deliver on that experience.
‘Kicking off early is an advantage to both teams. There is much more pressure on us than Norwich though.’
Sunderland go into the game third from bottom but with no new injury worries although they have failed to score in their last two games, something that concerns Allardyce.
He added: ‘They have to convert the chances
‘We have gone two games without scoring, that is concerning for me.
‘Handle the pressure, keep calm in those situations and be clinical in their finishing.’
This weekend will be the 15th time that Sunderland have sold out their away allocation this season and they have already sold out their 16th, away to Stoke on April 30th.
‘I just want to remind our fans how much we appreciated their support against Leicester,’ said Allardyce.
‘I slipped up not mentioning them as much as I should have done but they stuck with us and supported us against a side that looks like they will go on and win the league.
‘The support was fantastic and hopefully we can repay them at Norwich City.
‘I know all the tickets have been sold and if we can get that all important win, then we can all come home very happy.
‘Whatever faults we might have in terms of not seeing a game through, the fans can see the players are trying their very best.
‘Put the shirt on and give your all. We did that against Leicester but it wasn’t good enough,’ Allardyce his club’s website.