Tuesday 23 January 2018

O'Shea knows home form is key to saving Bruce's bacon

Damian Spellman

John O'Shea admits Sunderland need to return to winning ways sooner rather than later if they are to save Steve Bruce's job.

Last night betting was suspended on the Sunderland boss being the next manager to get the sack.

Wigan substitute Franco di Santo sparked a furious response from the home fans at the Stadium of Light on Saturday with an injury-time strike that secured a priceless 2-1 victory for the club, which started the day at the foot of the Premier League table.

For the first time, the silent majority joined forces with the vocal minority which has been demanding the manager's head for some time to make for an uncomfortable afternoon for chairman Ellis Short in the stands.

The Texan businessman had earlier insisted in his programme notes that there was no need for panic, but O'Shea knows just how significant next weekend's trip to Wolves and Blackburn's visit to Wearside a week later could prove.

He said: "You see the attendances we are getting, the fans coming to support us and especially at home, we haven't had as many wins as we would have liked. That's something we have got to change very quickly because if you want to stay in the Premier League, your home form is supposed to be key.

"We are away next week, but we have got a good enough belief to get three points at Wolves and then get three points at home to Blackburn."

The statistics make for depressing reading. Sunderland have won only two league games all season and have collected three points on their own pitch just twice in 15 attempts since January 1.

A crestfallen Bruce was nevertheless defiant as the boos rang around the stadium. "If you are going to do the job, there are going to be times when it is tough," he said. "I have had tough times -- probably not as tough as this one -- but I am determined."

Irish Independent

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