Premier League preview: Sunderland v Wigan Athletic

Sunderland tackle Wigan at the Stadium of Light on Saturday desperate to end a disastrous run of form.The Black Cats have won just once in the past 12 games. Steve Bruce’s side was unbeaten at the Stadium of Light until Blackpool won 2-0 on December 28.

They won their next game, a 3-0 victory over Blackburn on January 1 but recent results have fuelled talk of the club being sucked into a relegation scrap.

However, they have avoided plummeting down to the league basement because the teams below them – Wolves, West Ham, Blackpool, Wigan and Blackburn – have claimed just three wins between them while Sunderland have posted four straight losses.

Sunderland defender Nedum Onuoha believes survival in the Premier League depends on himself and his team-mates.

“I am not looking at what the bottom three do because it is in our hands,” Onuoha told the Newcastle Chronicle.

“From the very first game of the season, there is pressure in every game.”

“Most people will say there is more pressure now, but as a group of players we are capable of handling anything from the outside.”

Sunderland will attempt to end their losing streak at home to Wigan on Saturday.

Onuoha, who is expected to continue alongside Michael Turner in central defence against the Latics, accepts Sunderland have become an unwanted focus of attention.

However, the on-loan Manchester City star remains confident his temporary team can deal with the pressure and play their way to safety.

“People will be talking about us and we will not be able to shy away from that.”

“They will not be talking about it once we can get a win.”

“There is a lot of pressure but you have to stand up to that and keep going until the end. It will almost become a quiz question with the way our home form has changed since Christmas.”

“When a team comes here they will know that, but you still have to win games.”

Meanwhile, Wigan midfielder Ben Watson has fond memories of playing at the Stadium of Light.

“I made my first start there a couple of seasons back now and got myself on the score-sheet in a 2-1 win, which would be nice to repeat,” Watson told the club’s website.

“It would be nice to get another goal but I don’t tend to get that far up the pitch these days! But whoever gets the goals does so for the team which is the main point.

“I also don’t think we’ve been in a better position to record back-to-back wins before.”

“Right now we’re playing football better than we ever have done before as a group, and if we take that belief to the Stadium of Light it’ll serve us very well.”

Wigan, in 17th place on 34 points the league table, four points behind Sunderland, will aim to make it back-to-back wins after the 3-1 win at Blackpool last Saturday.

“This weekend is as big as the last,” Watson said.

“If we beat Sunderland we go one point behind them and as far as we’re concerned it’s another must-win game that we’ll approach with confidence.”

“They haven’t had the results they’re capable of recently but they’re a dangerous side and if we continue our form it’ll make for a very entertaining game.”