Writer: Gaz Johnson
Date:Monday February 22 2010
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been put under the most amount of pressure in his managerial career with Sunderland and he needs things to change quickly before he is shown the door.
If Aston Villa beat Palace in the Cup replay then Sunderland will have four home games in a row as they look to get enough points to survive this season.
Fulham turn up to the Stadium of Light this weekend on Sunday and then we face Bolton in the rescheduled game due to bad weather.
They then face tricky home ties against Man City and Birmingham in the following weeks and Bruce knows the importance of this spell in the season.
Bruce said: 'Our next four games are probably going to be at home - if Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup then our away trip there will be postponed - and those home games are likely to define our season,' said the Black Cats' manager.
'We need something to turn, but I believe it will.
'Of our 12 remaining games, seven are at home and we've been pretty decent at home.
'It's very tight among the bottom 10 teams and it's going to be interesting how it all pans out.
'A points total of 35 was good enough last year, 34 the year before, but I know that the big teams have dropped more points than usual this season, so it might be a higher survival target this year.
'We'll see, but we've got to be realistic about where we are.'
Sunderland sit uncomfortably on 26 points and need at least another 10 points to have any chance of staying up this season.
The results this weekend went our way as Bolton, Burnley, Wolves, Hull and Pompey all lost to keep any relegation place away for the moment.
Fulham are a difficult time and Zamora is on fire at the moment and gave us hell when we lost at Craven Cottage earlier this season.
Sunderland will have Cattermole back in the mix after he returns from suspension. Craig Gordon has also shown in the last defeat that he is important and we need him to be in top form for the arrival of Fulham on Sunday.
Date:Monday February 22 2010
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|13. Aston Villa||16||5||4||7||-10||19|
|16. Crystal Palace||16||3||6||7||-5||15|
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