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Phillips: Sunderland Won't Blow Survival Bid

Kevin Phillips has declared that Sunderland will be a Premier League club next season.

Michael Regan

Kevin Phillips insists he cannot envisage Sunderland letting go of their tight grip on the Premier League survival race.

Sunderland go into the clash with another of Phillips' former clubs, West Bromwich Albion, knowing that a point is all that is required to avoid a final day Stadium of Light stress-fest, but either way the former European Golden Boot winner believes survival is inevitable. He said:

Sunderland have got the bit between their teeth now with the two home games. [They] have let themselves after two or three big results this season, but I don't see that happening now because it means too much.

I see them getting over the finishing line, surviving - as will the Baggies - and it'll be great for me to go back to my old clubs as a coach [with current club Leicester City].

If Sunderland are still a Premier League club next season, he has no doubts over who deserves the credit - Gus Poyet. The Uruguayan's work is far from done, though.

The club was in a bit of a mess when he came in, but Gus has steadied the ship and if they stay up you have to give everyone huge credit.

But it's a big summer for them and I'm pretty sure he's thinking ahead now. He might need a bit of a clearout - I think he does - to bring some fresh faces in, and hopefully the club can move onto another level.

Poyet himself says that keeping Sunderland up this season would be his "biggest achievement", and judged from a perspective of how things looked three weeks ago, then it's hard to disagree. Based on how the table looked after Newcastle were beaten 3-0 in February, perhaps not!

Personally, I'm taking nothing for granted! This is Sunderland. Then again, who are we to argue with someone so proficient at hitting the target?