Fabio Borini feels the upcoming away fixtures at relegation rivals Newcastle and Norwich City will be ‘critical’ in Sunderland’s battle to avoid dropping out of the Premier League.
The Black Cats sit outside of the bottom three on goal difference alone after Norwich held Manchester City to a goalless draw at Carrow Road on Saturday, while Sam Allardyce’s men don’t have a fixture this weekend because of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
However next Sunday sees them travel the short distance to St James’
Park to face a Newcastle side which sits a point below them in second-bottom spot.
The Magpies could be rejuvenated following Rafael Benitez’s instalment as manager for the axed Steve McClaren, but it is a derby clash that the Black Cats can’t afford to lose.
There is also a trip to face Norwich in mid-April and Borini feels that the outcome of both matches could determine their chances of remaining in the Premier League.
The Italian striker, who joined Sunderland in a permanent £10million deal last summer and is rediscovering his form after overcoming injury problems, said: “Staying up depends on us.
“Now we have two matches against Newcastle and Norwich which will be critical.
“I came here to stay in the Premier League and we will fight until the end.”
Sunderland, who are priced at 1.5 to be relegated this season, are on offer at 3.5 to win at Newcastle next week, while the hosts are at 2.10 and the draw is at 3.20.