Date:Tuesday April 4 2006
Sunderland midfielder Rory Delap has hailed the influence Kevin Ball has had on the relegation-bound Sunderland squad...
The former Southampton utility man has been one of Sunderland's star performers since arriving at the club as Mick McCarthy's last signing as Sunderland boss.
And he grabbed a late equaliser against Everton on Saturday and came so close to striking a spectacular late winnner at Goodisoon.
He has been impressed so far with former player Kevin Ball's managerial start,
Delap said: 'We knew on Saturday it could be the day when things were settled for us, but we still want to claim wins and we still have that belief that we can get results.
'The spirit was there under Mick McCarthy and everyone knows what the gaffer (Kevin Ball) is all about.
'Desire, commitment and the will to win were big parts of his game and it is going to rub off on people who perhaps had doubts because of the way the season had gone.
'We showed great character at Everton to twice come from behind. We know our situation but I think we showed we have not given up. It was the sort of character we have to show against Fulham on Saturday.'
Speaking of his first goal in red and white stripes, Delap continued,
'I am delighted to get off the mark and it would have been nice for that shot at the end to have gone in.
'I thought it was in all the way but it just swerved at the last minute and came back off the post.
'Everton have been very strong at home and hope to sneak into Europe but we more than matched them.
'We could enjoy that performance on Saturday night - but starting today we have to think about winning against Fulham.'
However Delap knows that even a win against Fulham this weekend could still result in Sunderland being relegated, as a West Brom or Portsmouth win will confirm Sunderland's return to the Championship regardless of the Black Cats score.
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