Sunderland’s fortunes at the Stadium of Light will be crucial towards the Black Cats’ survival hopes, insists Sam Allardyce.
Allardyce will attempt to register a second successive home win tomorrow after Sunderland finally registered an elusive opening victory of the campaign against Newcastle a fortnight ago.
The Stadium of Light has not been a happy hunting ground for Sunderland over recent seasons - the Black Cats failing to win more than five home games in a solitary campaign since 2011-12.
But Allardyce says that home sickness will have to be cured if second bottom Sunderland are to stand a chance of preserving their Premier League existence.
He said: “If anything is going to keep us up, it’s going to be our home results. There’s no doubt about that.
“When you’re a team that’s struggling, your 12th man has to be your fans. We have to give them something to shout about.
“They made a huge difference against Newcastle, because we didn’t actually play that well and managed to win.
“The end result has to be a win. The performance? We’d like it to be magnificent, but winning is everything for us now and sometimes we’ll have to take it on the chin that the opposition is better than we are and we have to dig in.
“The crowd has to be patient with us and hopefully in the end, we can all get the reward by exposing them and scoring one more goal than they do.”
Sunderland face 16 days without a Premier League game after this weekend’s encounter, with Allardyce’s side returning to action after the international break at Crystal Palace on Monday, November 23.
Allardyce would relish a boost prior to the fortnight’s hiatus, but realises the magnitude of Sunderland’s task against a Southampton side unbeaten on the road this season.
“Every international break is nice if you go in with a positive result, especially a win in our position,” he added.
“To achieve that victory will mean that every player is at their 100 per cent best against Southampton.
“You look at the position of that team, and the position of our team, and it tells you that if we are to beat Southampton, we need to be on top of our game, clinical, ruthless and defensively very, very sound.”
Liam Bridcutt’s move to Leeds United is in the balance, days after a loan deal was agreed for the Sunderland midfielder.
Leeds were hopeful that they would complete a two-month loan for Bridcutt in time for the ex-Brighton man to feature in Tuesday night’s clash against Cardiff City.
But Bridcutt - yet to make a first-team appearance for Sunderland this season - trained with the rest of his Black Cats team-mates at the Stadium of Light today.
The 26-year-old is understood to be keen to move to Elland Road, despite interest from several other Championship outfits, yet the delay is thought to have been caused by the uncertainty over Massimo Cellino’s ownership of Leeds.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce today described the deal as being “confused - a bit like Leeds.”
“I’m not sure what’s happening, because he was here for training today,” said Allardyce.
Leeds boss Steve Evans today said that he was still hopeful of signing Bridcutt, although he acknowledged there are other suitors for the holding midfielder.
But Evans expects to learn before the weekend whether Bridcutt will judge Sunderland and ex-Brighton team-mate Will Buckley on loan at Elland Road.