Sunderland have nothing to fear in Championship relegation battle, says boss

Chris Coleman has seen nothing to suggest Sunderland have anything to fear from the Championship as they battle for survival.

Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 6:17 am
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman.

Coleman has taken charge of 11 games since replacing Simon Grayson in the hotseat at the Stadium of Light.

The ex-Wales boss has won four games, with Sunderland keeping five clean sheets during his spell, a clear sign of progression.

Sunderland, however, remain in the bottom three, the 1-0 win over Hull City enough to lift them off the bottom of the Championship but not out of the drop zone.

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The Black Cats don’t play until Tuesday when they travel to relegation rivals Birmingham City, with work ongoing to bring in the players needed to improve the squad before the transfer window closes on January 31.

Coleman has consistently stressed the need for new faces if they are to battle successfully against the drop, with Sunderland in need of two new strikers.

Coleman admits league leaders Wolves, currently nine points clear at the top, are the stand out side but he believes Sunderland have a chance of picking up points in every game - and he has seen nothing to fear from his experiences since taking over.

“I think in this league, as I look at it, Wolves are the stand-out team,” said Coleman.

“If you are in the Premier League you look at the likes of Man United, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and you can isolate those and if you get something from those games then great.

“In this league, you can look at every game and say we have a chance of getting something - every game is an opportunity for us.

“I don’t look at games and think ‘we need something super special there’.

“I know we’re in the bottom three but I don’t see one team and look at it and go we need something extra special. They are all opportunities. We can get points in every game.”

Birmingham away was originally scheduled for Saturday but had to be rearranged as a result of Birmingham’s progression in the FA Cup. The rearranged fixture takes place a little over 24 hours before the transfer window closes.

The Championship is hugely competitive with just five points separating the bottom seven sides, with third-bottom Sunderland currently level with Hull on 25 points.

Coleman added: “It is such a competitive league. We just have to put a run of games together, all the other managers in and around us will be saying the same thing. Some teams around us have had their best run of the season.

“There has been a progression recently, it hasn’t been enough to get us out of the bottom three but it is something we can build on. It is not a hopeless task.

“It will be a stronger push for us if we get in this window what we want and what we need. We can build on that and be even better to get the points we need.”