Sunderland coach Sam Allardyce has conceded that his side may need to beat title favourites Leicester City if they are to avoid relegation this season.
The Black Cats, 1.28 to be relegated, were held to a 0-0 draw by West Brom on Saturday at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland have won just one of their last 10 matches, but they had plenty of chances to win the game.
Striker Jermain Defoe had numerous chances but he was thwarted by goalkeeper Ben Foster. The former Manchester United stopper also made terrific saves from Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchoff and Fabio Borini.
They will play again on home soil next week but must overcome Claudio Ranieri’s side, who are in a rich vein of form at the minute.
Allardyce’s side kept a clean sheet for the first time in 18 games but the former West Ham manager admits they need to get three points against the Foxes.
He said: “Well, we have got to beat Leicester next week and then we have got Norwich to come, so the closer we get points-wise to Norwich, the more and bigger the game it’s going to be.
“We can’t afford to be any further away. We have a game in hand – which is Everton here – but that doesn’t happen until the last week of the season and we don’t want to be too far away from Norwich when we play them, so we have got to try to beat Leicester now.”