Jermain Defoe on Crystal Palace and the return of two key players for Sunderland

Sunderland will come up against a few familiar faces this weekend at Crystal Palace in the shape of Sam Allardyce and Patrick van Aanholt.
Jermain DefoeJermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe

And Jermain Defoe admits it is a game he is desperate to win in order to keep Sunderland close to their relegation rivals.

Sunderland are five points adrift of safety despite the hard-fought point against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night.

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Defoe is looking forward to this weekend's clash at Selhurst Park against third-bottom Palace, managed by former boss Allardyce who picked up his first win since taking charge when they beat Bournemouth 2-0 last night.

Allardyce was reunited with van Aanholt this week when he splashed out £14million on the left-back. Palace are three points ahead of Sunderland in the table.

Looking ahead to the game, Defoe said: "It’s a game I want to win, badly.

"It’s not just because Big Sam and Patrick have gone there, it’s because they won last night and we need to stay close and put pressure on the teams around us.

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"If we can go there and pick up three points it will be a big result for us, but if we play like we did against Spurs we’ll get chances against the lesser teams – that’s no disrespect to Palace but Spurs are pushing for the title.

"I want to score goals and I only need one chance.

"We’ll be positive in our play, though, and we will cause Palace problems, so we can’t wait for the next game."

Sunderland have been boosted by the return of Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong after their Africa Cup of Nations duties, with both starring in the draw with Spurs.

Defoe added: "Lamine is a beast and Didi brings so much energy to the team.

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"They are two big players for us especially because of their physical nature which you real need in the Premier League.

"Wanyama and Dembele are so strong! But they did well and I think we enjoyed the game as a team. If we can’t win games we have to take something from it, and we did that so we’re happy," said Defoe in an interview with the club website.