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Sunday 22 April 2018

Sam Allardyce confident of Leicester result as Sunderland battle for survival

Sam Allardyce hopes his Sunderland side can become the fourth team to beat Leicester this season
Sam Allardyce hopes his Sunderland side can become the fourth team to beat Leicester this season

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce insists he is "more confident than ever that his side can beat the drop as they head into Sunday's clash with leaders Leicester at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats languished four points from safety in the Barclays Premier League after last weekend's frustrating goalless draw at West Brom - but Allardyce believes he has seen enough to sense survival.

Allardyce said: "I'm more confident than I've ever been since I've been here based on the performances.

"If we can perform this week like we can perform last week that is all I can ask for and hopefully it will be big enough to bring us probably our biggest three points of the season.

"A win would see us become only the fourth team to beat Leicester this season - that's how big it is for us - but if we play as well as we did last week then it will give us the platform to do it."

Allardyce dragged his squad off to train on Sunderland beach this week in a bid to blow away that frustration which has seen his side slide deeper into trouble on the back of four consecutive draws.

And he insists any prospective title jitters on Leicester's part will pale in comparison to his own side's issues when it comes to the task of confirming their top-flight status for another year.

Allardyce added: "There's a lot more pressure on us than there is on Leicester with the position we're faced with, but we've managed to handle that pressure extremely well in performance terms.

"It's a bigger game for us than it is for them on the basis of our status in the Premier League. Much as they would like to go on and win it, it would still be an outstanding season (for Leicester) if they finished second."

Allardyce went on to hail the achievements of Claudio Ranieri's men who will head into the weekend seven points clear at the top of the table and looking to take another improbable stride to the title.

"It's Roy of the Rovers stuff for people like me who is old enough to remember Roy of the Rovers," added Allardyce. "It's a fairytale and after our game on Sunday I hope they continue to go on."

Allardyce could name an unchanged side for the game with Sebastian Larsson offering an additional attacking option from the bench, with knee injury victim Duncan Watmore the only significant absentee.

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