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3 fixtures at risk of being switched & how are our rivals feeling? Palace & Leicester in chaos

Three of Sunderland's upcoming fixtures have run the risk of being moved - the Tees-Wear derby, a trip to Arsenal and April's home fixture against West Ham. We ponder the latest. And a look at how our relegation rivals are faring this Monday morning - Leicester and Crystal Palace are in meltdown.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Tees-Wear switch & FA Cup impact

Sunderland's trip to Middlesbrough, which was scheduled for two weeks on Saturday, will be rearranged as a result of the Teessider's progressing in the FA Cup.

Middlesbrough v Oxford United - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Middlesbrough fans at Saturday's Fifth Round victory over Oxford
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The fixture had been due to be played on 11th March and a new date will be decided between the two clubs, the Premier League and the police. This season's Tees-Wear derby - the first for four years - will likely be rearranged into a mid-week slot.

April's trip to the Emirates also looks to be in doubt. Arsenal are due to host Sunderland on the 22nd but if they progress in the cup against Sutton United tonight the Gunners will be at home to Lincoln City and more than likely progress into the semi-finals which will be held on the weekend we were due to visit. Another mid-week trip looks likely for this one too.

So, that's two mid-week games and two potentially free weekends to add a fresh twist in the relegation fixture saga. With Sunderland likely needing to win five or six of their remaining fourteen matches to stay up, every game now counts as 'crucial'.

Facing opponents 'distracted' by reaching the latter stages of the FA Cup may be no bad thing and regardless, all straws must now be grasped to keep the hope of survival alive.

Sunderland are likely the most affected side by fixture switches compared with our relegation rivals. Hull City, Swansea and Leicester have no disruption though Sam Allardyce and his Crystal Palace side's all-London clash with Tottenham on quarter-final weekend will now also be switched.

Police fail in bid to move West Ham game

Northumbria Police tried to move either Sunderland's game against West Ham or Newcastle's against Leeds in mid-April. A fixture anomaly has meant both Tyne and Wear clubs find themselves at home on the same day.

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

To make matters worse, that weekend is Easter so a little bank holiday jollity may be in the air as Leeds and West Ham fans descend on the region. Middlesbrough are at home too as they host Arsenal so the transport network will be rather busy that Saturday and into the bank holidays with plenty of supporters likely making a weekend of it.

However, both Sunderland's and Newcastle's fixture on the 15th of April are unlikely to be shifted as both the Premier League and the Football League have turned down an appeal from Northumbria Police. There is still a chance of change however as TV fixtures for that weekend have yet to be announced.

How are our relegation rivals feeling this morning?

Only Leicester were in action this weekend out of the Premier League's bottom seven clubs who can now probably all count themselves as 'officially' in the relegation mire. And the Foxes continue to lurch from one crisis to another. The current champions were embarrassed at the Den at the hands of League One Millwall and the fall-out has a way to run yet.

Millwall v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Millwall fans at Saturday's Fifth Round match against Leicester
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Claudio Ranieri's men could be forgiven for having one eye on Wednesday night's trip to Spain as Leicester will take on Sevilla in the first leg of the knock-out stages of the Champions League. But, reports suggesting the Foxes players on the pitch at Millwall were scared even to take a throw-in at the feisty Den hints at a psychological capitulation within the Premier League champions.

Millwall v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Leicester's players were unable to deal with the hostility either on or off the pitch at the Den
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Meanwhile, all things remain un-Allardyce-like at Crystal Palace. Six defeats in Big Sam's first eight games in charge at Selhurst Park continues to see a reverberating meltdown amongst Eagles fans.

Stoke City v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Amusingly, one Palace fan columnist in the Croydon Advertiser has even called on his fellow 'ultras' to stand up and be counted in a desperate call-to-arms this morning. Big Sam's side face Middlesbrough this weekend in a crucial relegation six-pointer.

West Ham United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Palace fans getting over excited when they faced West Ham a few weeks ago
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

From a Sunderland perspective a draw is probably the best outcome, though a Crystal Palace win may be no bad thing in leveling them up with 'Boro on points. But when fans start calling on their fellow fans to stop being so upset at what they're what witnessing on the pitch - you know there's trouble at mill.

Unbelievably, the Palace bloke who wrote this piece properly launches into his own fans who have probably quite rightly displayed their disgruntlement during their club's dreadful run of results:

When supporters chant 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' they don't mean the players are not fit to wear the shirts. They might think they mean that, but I think what they are actually saying is 'we the fans are not fit to support the team'.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

If a Sunderland fan had written that there would quite literally be hell on. There may be more trouble ahead yet for Big Sam and his Palace survival mission on this evidence.

Meanwhile, Hull City are in Portugal this week. Marco Silva and his men are recharging their batteries before this weekend's home clash with Burnley, and Swansea City are in the midst of their present new manager bounce as Paul Clement looks to build on their excellent recent run of form since his unveiling as Swans boss.

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