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Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback says the Black Cats are targeting Wednesday’s match against Aston Villa as an opportunity to move out of the Premier League relegation zone after four months in the bottom three.
Colback’s stoppage time equaliser at Cardiff City on Saturday extended Sunderland’s unbeaten run to five games after Gus Poyet’s side dramatically battled back from two goals down to rescue a point.
Although they weren’t able to grab the win that would have taken them up to 17th place, after results elsewhere all went in their favour, Sunderland still managed to narrow the gap between themselves and the safety mark to just two points.
And a win in New Year’s Day’s clash against out of form Aston Villa could see the Black Cats move out of the drop zone for the first time since August – an important time for the club as they then face a glut of cup fixtures in the month ahead.
Colback told the Sunderland Echo: “We’re only two points away now and we need to look to win against Villa, keep the unbeaten run going and move out of the bottom three.
“We’ve got some good games coming up against bottom-half teams.
“Those games are always tough, but we can give ourselves a good chance.
“There’s been a couple of times when we’ve had good wins and then ended up losing the next game. We couldn’t afford to let that gap get any bigger on Saturday.”
Sunderland’s next two Premier League matches after the clash with Villa are at Fulham and the visit Southampton in January – a busy month as the Black Cats face Manchester United home and away in the Capital One Cup semi-finals plus a home FA Cup third round tie against Carlisle United.