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Oatway Looking For Home Encouragement

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The fans are needed more so than ever, says Charlie.

Charlie Oatway has urged the Sunderland crowd to stick with the players as they fight for their Premier League lives, though he can appreciate results have not made that easy.

Gus Poyet's number two said:

The fans are going to have a big part to play on Monday, and in us staying up. There have been missed opportunities in games at home, but you could say the same about games away from home.

That's why we're down at the bottom. We're down there for a reason and we have to do anything possible now to stay up. That means if we get one extra percent from the fans then it can help but it also applies to the players.

Having a pop at the Sunderland home support is almost fashionable these days but that's clearly not what Oatway is doing here. Rightly so too, because the support are the victims in the disasters of the last year, not any kind of cause.

The opening sentence of this blog was chosen very carefully, though. Because as long as the players actually are fighting, the fans will roar them on as heroes. That's what Sunderland fans have been raised - through necessity - to think. It's when they ponce around like they did against Norwich that the fans exercise their right to retort.

It's going to be a horrible night. A defeat would extinguish just about all reasonable remaining hope of survival, whilst a win would put us right back in touch and could be a huge momentum shifter at the bottom. It's going to be hell.