SUNDERLAND deserve to be relegated if they fail to beat those lying alongside them in the battle to avoid the drop, admits Charlie Oatway.
A make-or-break month awaits for Sunderland in the dogfight at the wrong end of the Premier League table, with bottom seven peers Burnley, QPR and West Brom all visiting the Stadium of Light in three of the next four top-flight outings.
Gus Poyet’s side are in the midst of a slump after just one point from a possible 15 has left the Black Cats teetering precariously on the edge of the bottom three, with confidence not improved by an unconvincing stalemate against Championship Fulham in the FA Cup last weekend.
But despite just a solitary Premier League win at the Stadium of Light this season, Sunderland have a more ‘winnable’ run of games on the horizon on their own turf.
And first-team coach Oatway says if they are unable to take advantage of this period, then they can have no complaints if they pay the price come the end of the season.
Oatway told the Gazette: “It’s common sense.
“If you don’t beat the teams down there with you, you deserve to go down.
“It’s a tough league and you’ve got to beat those sides.
“We’ll be set up to make sure we get results, but it isn’t going to be easy, hence us being in the Premier League.
“The fixtures at home have been tough so far, but we’ve picked up points against the likes of Chelsea and Man United.
“That’s why we’re in the Premier League though. We want to play those sides.
“It’s not worth winging about you when they beat you or you only get a point.”
Sunderland’s problems at the Stadium of Light have been magnified over the last two home games, with the Black Cats’ limp attacking displays seeing them draw a blank against both Liverpool and Fulham.
That prompted Poyet to admit that he needs to find a way to make Sunderland more of a threat.
But Oatway hopes that with the addition of new signing Jermain Defoe to Sunderland’s ranks, it will prompt a upturn in results on their own turf.
“With Jermain coming in, hopefully he’ll be able to cross the t’s and dot the i’s by putting the ball in the net,” added Oatway.
“There’s been many times when we’ve been very close, but just haven’t been able to put that ball in the net.
“Hopefully that will happen and the crowd will have something to cheer about.
“I think they can see a change and the way the club has progressed in certain avenues; what we’re trying to do and how we’re doing it.
“But it would be nice to give them something to really cheer about.”