Ex-Newcastle United defender reveals why Sunderland are '˜better equipped' to stay up

Steve Howey admits the situation facing relegation rivals Newcastle United and Sunderland is '˜dire'.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 4:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th April 2016, 4:11 pm
Steve Howey about to take his next shot at the launch of the North East FootGolf Series at Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club.

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.

Steve Howey

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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.”

Steve Howey

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.