Steve Howey admits the situation facing relegation rivals Newcastle United and Sunderland is ‘dire’.
But the former centre-back - who played for Newcastle between 1989 and 2000 - believes the Black Cats are “better equipped” to extend their stay in the top flight because they are able to grind out results.
Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle are third-bottom, a daunting six points adrift of 17th-placed Norwich City, who beat them thanks to a last-gasp winner last weekend.
Sunderland are two points better off than Newcastle but Norwich enjoy a four-point cushion over them.
Howey, 44, told the Gazette: “It is a pretty dire situation. Newcastle’s result at Norwich certainly didn’t help them and it didn’t help Sunderland either.
“It is going to be a tough ask for Newcastle to get anything at Southampton. Leicester have only lost a couple of times - can Sunderland pull a result from nowhere?
“There is a big chance both will go down and it would be devastating for the area to lose one, never mind two.”
The former England international added: “I think Newcastle have better players, ability wise.
“But Sunderland are better equipped because they have that grittiness to dig out results.”
He also had a warning to both sides if the worst case scenario developed and both were relegated.
“The Championship is such a difficult, horrible league to get out of. The games are constant.” * Howey was speaking at the launch of the new FootGolf Series at Ramside Golf Club.