Big Sam calls for win to beat drop

LONDON • Sam Allardyce has warned his Sunderland players that they are not yet safe as they close in on a fourth consecutive late-season escape from Premier League relegation.

The club will secure a 10th successive season of top-flight football with a home win over Roberto Martinez's Everton today.

Fourth-bottom Sunderland have pulled off similar last-gasp escapes in the past three seasons and set themselves up for a repeat with a stirring 3-2 comeback victory over Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Their 48,000-capacity home will again post the "Sold out" signs as they look to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since November that would see them safe, condemning neighbours Newcastle and Norwich to the Championship alongside bottom club Aston Villa.

A draw will leave their relegation rivals with slim hopes of staying up, and Allardyce is keen on finishing the job to avoid going into the final day with matters still unresolved.

Sunderland visit Watford on Sunday, with Newcastle hosting Tottenham and Norwich travelling to Everton.

"Our destiny is in our own hands," Allardyce said. "But we can't go into the Everton game with the expectation that it's job done, because it isn't. We need a repeat of the performance and support we had against Chelsea, particularly in the second half."

Everton humiliated Sunderland 6-2 earlier this season and have lost only once in 11 visits to Wearside. Despite that, they travel to the north-east in woeful form. But Allardyce does not expect them to roll over.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SUNDERLAND V EVERTON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Big Sam calls for win to beat drop'. Print Edition | Subscribe