Time for Sunderland players to show character, says Allardyce

Published 11/20/2015, 2:25 PM EST
Football – Sunderland v Southampton – Barclays Premier League – Stadium of Light – 7/11/15 Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Livepic


LONDON (Reuters) – The time has come for Sunderland’s players to show their character as the fight against relegation intensifies, manager Sam Allardyce said on Friday.

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Allardyce takes his beleaguered side to face Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace on Monday, by which time Sunderland could be back at the bottom of the Premier League.

They are currently 19th, with just one win and six points from 12 matches, but bottom club Aston Villa would climb above them if they get at least a point at Everton on Saturday.

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Sunderland’s only win in the league came in Allardyce’s second match in charge when they beat arch-rivals Newcastle United 3-0 almost a month ago.

Since then they have lost 6-2 at Everton and been beaten 1-0 at home by Southampton and the positivity surrounding that victory over Newcastle is in danger of totally evaporating unless they start winning again soon.

Allardyce, speaking at his pre-match news conference on Friday, said that midfielder Lee Cattermole trained earlier in the day and he expects to be able to take a fully-fit squad to London.

“We’re all in it together and we have to stick together. We have to get on with the job,” he added.

“There is a huge amount of experience in our squad so we need to go out and express ourselves on Monday.”

Pardew, who like Allardyce, has managed both Newcastle and West Ham United, has had a long, friendly rivalry with the man known as ‘Big Sam’, and meets him again with his Palace side eyeing a place in Europe next season.

When Pardew took over at Palace in January, the team were 18th and facing relegation. They rallied to finish 10th, their highest top-flight league position since 1992, and are currently two places better off than that now.

Palace secured a 4-1 win at Sunderland last April when Dick Advocaat was in charge of the north east club.

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Pardew said that even though Sunderland are again in trouble at the wrong end of the table, Palace could take nothing for granted with Allardyce in the opposite dugout.

“I never fancy my chances against a Sam Allardyce team, because of his knowledge. They’ll give everything they’ve got to get the victory,” he said.

He added that Palace striker Connor Wickham, who scored a last-minute consolation for former club Sunderland in that 4-1 defeat last season, and fellow-striker Marouane Chamakh are back from injury but that Dwight Gayle is still out.

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(Reporting by Mike Collett; editing by Toby Davis)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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