Ex-Newcastle United defender reveals why Sunderland are ‘better equipped’ to stay up

Steve Howey about to take his next shot at the launch of the North East FootGolf Series at Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club.

Steve Howey about to take his next shot at the launch of the North East FootGolf Series at Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club.

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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.

Steve Howey

Steve Howey

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.