Sunderland urged to play without fear against Sheffield Wednesday after Good Friday triumph

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman has urged his players to get over their home discomforts and play without fear against Sheffield Wednesday.

Saturday, 31st March 2018, 9:36 am
Sunderland's players applaud the fans after last night's stunning 4-1 win at Derby. Picture by Frank Reid

The Black Cats climbed to within three points of safety thanks to last night’s 4-1 win at play-off hopefuls Derby.

George Honeyman’s deflected effort set Sunderland on their way, before Ashley Fletcher doubled the lead with a cool, low finish.

Derby scored three minutes before the break, through Matej Vydra, but Sunderland extended their lead four minutes into the second half, with an Aiden McGeady penalty.

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Skipper John O’Shea, an unlikely goalscorer, capped off the evening, sweeping home goal number four.

Sunderland now face Sheffield Wednesday – fresh from a 4-1 victory over Preston – on Easter Monday, with the Black Cats aiming for their first back-to-back wins of the season.

Coleman said: “Monday is a big test for us. We play with fear at home. We can’t – we have to get over that. It doesn’t matter who we play, with due respect to Sheffield Wednesday.

“We haven’t won back to back games all season, hence why we are second-bottom.

“It is a big challenge, a big opportunity. It is not like we have only played five or 10 games.

“We are running out of opportunities. We have given ourselves a chance and we have to capitalise on it.

“Whoever is fit, I think the team will be different than it was (at Derby).

“Whoever is ready has to roll the sleeves up, get the job done.

“For us, when we go in front normally, we are much better off and have a chance of winning. We just have to have an attitude on Monday – you are not guaranteed anything, but we must have an attitude.

“We have to stay in the game, maybe be a bit nasty in our mentality and make sure they know they are in the game.”

Joel Asoro, who missed the Derby win with concussion, is rated as 50-50 for Monday, with Ovie Ejaria a doubt after an injury to his back and ribs.