Connor Wickham will not write off Man City v Sunderland as lost

STILL BATTLING: Sunderland's Connor Wickham
STILL BATTLING: Sunderland's Connor Wickham

CONNOR WICKHAM insists Sunderland’s trip to Manchester City is NOT a lost cause.

Sunderland head to the Etihad Stadium tonight on the back of five consecutive Premier League defeats, with their top flight status hanging by a thread after falling seven points adrift of safety (kick-off 7.45pm).

In contrast, title-chasing Man City will be eager to bounce back from Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Liverpool by narrowing the gap on the Merseysiders, in the first of two games in hand on the league leaders.

But striker Wickham says the Black Cats are refusing to accept defeat in the battle for survival and must take heart from their performance in last weekend’s narrow defeat to fourth placed Everton.

Wickham told SportMail: “We seem to do well against these sort of teams.

“Who knows? We’ll go there and if we play like we did against Everton, we’ll have some hope.

“We know it’s going to be difficult now because we’ve obviously got a tough run-in.

“But these are still games that you can take points from.

“That’s the state of mind we need going into these games.

“If we can get a win, even better.

“But no-one in that dressing room is going to give up.”

Sunderland produced arguably their best display since last month’s Capital One Cup final defeat to Man City, in the 1-0 defeat against Everton.

Yet Poyet’s side were undone by an own goal – the sixth time in the league this season that they have netted at the wrong end – while the Toffees cleared several efforts off the goal-line.

England Under-21 frontman Wickham, expected to remain in the starting XI tonight after a bright showing on Saturday, feels Sunderland may need a splash of fortune themselves if they are to stand a chance of beating the drop.

“Everyone could see how well we played against Everton,” added the 21-year-old.

“Maybe our performances in the past haven’t done us justice, but when we turn it on, we can compete with anyone.

“We need to do that little bit extra to get the win.

“Maybe we need someone to score an own goal for us, but that’s football. That’s how it goes.

“If we can take the positives from Everton, we’ve got a tough game coming up, but it’s up to us to do the work.”