On Team News...
John O’Shea hasn’t trained all week, but he’s going to train today. You mentioned Jake Clarke-Slater, Marc Wilson has trained this week but he won’t be available for this weekend, it will be too early for him. Darron Gibson has had a couple of sessions, but I think Darron will still be at least another two weeks before we can think about him having any type of game time. Of course, you know Jonny from last week, it will probably be another three weeks, we think.
Kazenga LuaLua has trained twice this week, with us. He’s looked sharp, he’s looked OK to be fair. Paddy McNair has had one proper session, so he could be in contention tomorrow. But, let’s see how he gets through today, providing there is no reaction, which there shouldn’t be. That’s it.
On Risking Specific Players...
I think so, yeah. Obviously, it has to be a calculated one, but there are only 9 games of the season left. We’re running out of games and we’re running out of time, so it’s needs must. I’m sure the lads as well, they know that.
Probably In other circumstances where you wouldn’t take a risk, but were at stage where we might have to, it’s as simple as that. We’re running out of games and the players know that.
How Do You Change the Current Situation?
It’s not easy, of course. We won’t do it if we don’t believe we can do it. We’ve just got to not give up, keep going and keep believing because one result can change everything. As bad of a run as we’ve been on, there are teams in and around us that have been doing the same things. So, it’s still very much four teams in it and one result can change the landscape dramatically and put pressure on one or two of the teams above us, with one result.
But, we keep saying it, every weekend. I think last weekend, I couldn’t really fault the lads for their determination and their work rate. They had a really good go at it, but we’re lacking confidence in certain areas. In terms of their work rate, they had a right pop at it. We lost the game, ultimately, but nevertheless, it was a much better performance than the one before that.
We’ve already said we’re running out of games, we know that. It can’t be after this weekend, we’ll wait until the next game comes around, it’s got to be this one. It can happen, it can be a dramatic turn of events, in the space of 90 minutes everything can look much different. Let’s hope that’s the case this weekend.
Does it Matter Who You Play Now?
When people say; “You’re going to need 4 wins, 5 wins, 6 wins.” Nobody knows, we don’t know whats going to be needed. It’s a crazy league the Championship, you never ever know one result from the next, the inconsistencies.
We really should have got something from the QPR game, even with 10 men. Then QPR go to Aston Villa, who have been on an incredible run and beat them 3-1 and that’s the league. How many wins we need, we don’t know. We’ve just got to look at the next game like it’s the last game and get something positive, a positive feeling here. You’re dead right, home or away it doesn’t matter, it’s just getting something positive from the game.
It can really change; one 90 minutes can change. We’ve got to make sure that we’re on the end of that in a positive way. Looking back, we can say; “There it was, now let’s go onto the next one, we’ve put pressure on the teams above us, let’s go into this next game like it’s the last one, whoever’s fit and whoever’s ready. Play that game like it’s the last game of the season and it’s all on that.”
Do You Think the Players Still Believe?
I think they do, yeah. I think they need some confidence, they need a little nudge. They need a little bit of luck as well, to be fair to them. They’re human beings at the end of the day, they feel the pressure, of course they do.
It’s only us that are going to change our circumstances, so they have to believe, I believe and they have to believe that we can make a really fist of it and change the events, change what’s happening. If you don’t believe, it won’t happen, it never does. It would be nice to see that five-point gap, if we could turn it into a two-point gap, it changes a lot.
It’s amazing, football’s crazy, human beings are human beings and when you’re put in certain positions, people react differently. But, we’ve got to make we make that happen and put pressure on the teams above us.
On Preston’s Season...
I think they’ve made a really good fist of it Preston, this year. They’re a strong team, physically strong, good pace and power. They’ll be coming into the game with their own pressure, for the right reasons, why they need the 3 points.
It will be a tough game, but they’re not stupid Preston, they won’t just come to the Stadium of Light thinking that it will be an easy game for them. They know the situation we’re in also, forget about our home form or the situation there. It’s a game of football, 3 o’clock, anything can happen. They’ll know that it should be a tough game for them as well as us, both teams are playing for a lot.
Let’s just see where we end up at 5 o’clock. For them, they’ll know that the situation we’re in, we’ll be fighting for our lives. I’m quite sure they’ll be in the same mood because they need the 3 points as well.
Is There Enough Heart and Courage?
There has to be, there has to be, but talk is cheap. We’ll find and we’ll see. Whenever you’re in this situation every word I say, if I mention the R word then you’re being negative, if you mention League One you’re a defeatist, if you don’t talk about it then you’re living in daydream land and you’re not confronting it.
Whichever way you turn, everybody hangs on that word and they turn it into whatever they want to turn it into. It’s not the first time in my life that I’ve been in a situation where there is so much hanging on it and I’m quite sure some of our boys are the same as well. Some of them, it will be a first for them because they’re young and they’re inexperienced. Some of the more experienced ones have been there before.
So, I think Sunderland is the type of place where there is a certain way of doing things that’s accepted and there is a certain way of doing things that will never be accepted. Unfortunately for us, we’ve been on the wrong end of it and we haven’t produced enough, for long enough. So, between now and the end of the season, if you haven’t got a bit of courage and you haven’t got a bit of heart, it will be a very uncomfortable ride.
We’ll see, because talk is cheap, talk is cheap and we’ll have to wait and see.
It Will Get Better....Won’t It?
You’re absolutely right. We get stuck in the moment, well I do the same thing and you think this is always going to be like this, I’m always going to feel like this and it’s always going to be negative and we’re losing games.
Sunderland won’t always be like that, it won’t. Hopefully whilst I’m here I can turn it round, or the one after or the one after that. It won’t always be like this, it won’t. It’s been through tough times, this club, but it’s had good times as well, in its history and it won’t always be like this, it will turn, it will turn. Sooner rather than later, fingers crossed, but it won’t always be like this.