Billy Jones confident that if Sunderland can keep a clean sheet, striker Jermain Defoe will prove a match winner
Keep it clean and Jermain Defoe will score.
That is the order from Billy Jones on the eve of Sunderland’s vital Premier League trip to tackle Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
With the Black Cats threatened with being cast adrift at the bottom of the table, a victory is a must atthe Vitality Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
Rejuvenated Jones has regained his right-back spot and is relishing the challenge of stopping the 10th-placed Cherries from scoring tomorrow.
“Success comes from keeping clean sheets, for any team in this league,” said the 29-year-old former West Bromwich Albion man.
“That happened on the run we went on at the end of last season.
“We know, as a group, if we can keep a clean sheet having JD up front and how clinical he is, we’ve got a great chance of winning.
“That message is still there and still apparent from all of us, the coaching staff and players.
“If we can keep it tight and give JD a chance, he’ll score.
“But it’s got to happen as an 11, from the front.”
Jones said the Sunderland players are desperate to get the first win in the Premier League.
David Moyes’s side prop up the top flight with only two points from 10 games.
Should that carry on over the season, they would be relegated with a record low points total, but Jones says one win could change everything.
“We’re desperate to take that weight off our shoulders,” he said.
“The main thing is when we do get that first win that we follow it up with more good results and build some consistency.
“If you can do that in this league before you know it you’ve caught teams up and you are giving yourself an opportunity to go past them.”
Jones has been restored to the defence in place of Javier Manquillo after recovering from a hip injury.
The former West Brom defender played in the Checkatrade Trophy win at Hartlepool United and the EFL Cup defeat at Southampton.
But the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal was his first start after a couple of sub appearances.
“Playing the Under-23 game against Hartlepool was the last step of my re-hab,” he said.
“I think, because you are back training, you believe you are ready but after playing in that I knew I was ready.
“The gaffer has seen that too so it was nice to get on in the Stoke and West Ham games and to play the League Cup tie at Southampton.
“From a personal perspective it’s been nice to play those two games inside a week, even if the results are not what we wanted.”
Jones feels his experience might have tipped selection in his favour given he has featured in previous Sunderland relegation escapes.
“Maybe that’s how he feels and that’s the reason he made the change at right-back,” he said.
“Obviously, the situation we are in, I’ve been in it before at this club, and there are other lads in the same boat who know what needs to be done to get out of this.
“As a group we’ve been trying to relay this message to the new lads, we know what is needed.”