Sunderland’s John O’Shea promising Norwich City goalkeeper Mark Bunn a busy afternoon

Sunderland's John O'Shea admits there is a lot at stake in Sunday's game.

Sunderland's John O'Shea admits there is a lot at stake in Sunday's game. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sunderland defender John O'Shea has promised the Norwich City defence they will be a lot busier in Sunday's Premier League meeting than that of their previous opponents.

The Black Cats were thumped 3-1 at bottom club Queens Park Rangers last Saturday, and stand-in skipper O'Shea admitted they gave goalkeeper Robert Green too easy an afternoon.

Sunderland have lingering relegation worries after a return of just two points in six league games, and need to get their suffering supporters onside by giving them something to shout about at the Stadium of Light on Sunday (1.30pm).

They can overtake the Canaries on goal difference if they beat them, but will need a marked improvement on their showing at Loftus Road.

Said O'Shea: 'Unfortunately we are not putting teams under enough pressure - we didn't put their goalkeeper under any pressure at all really.


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'That's something we have to put right on Sunday against Norwich, because the only way you're going to put teams under pressure is by scoring goals and we have to get back to doing that.

'I'm sure Rob Green came off the pitch thinking he had had quite an easy afternoon. I can promise you that the Norwich 'keeper will be quite a bit busier on Sunday.'

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O'Shea said Sunderland must make home advantage count against a City side with just one away win all season.

'It's up to us to get the crowd going on Sunday – we can't be depending on the crowd to get us going all the time,' said the Republic of Ireland centre-half.

'We have to give them something to get them behind us.

'Whether that be shots, headers, winning tackles – whatever, we have to give the fans something to get them on the edge of their seats.

'There's always a worry when you are not in a comfortable position and I don't think we've ever tried to hide that.

'Our season won't be over if we don't win on Sunday, but it's a big game.'

The 31-year-old O'Shea has worked with City boss Chris Hughton at international level.

He told the Sunderland Echo: 'Norwich have been playing quite well recently. I know Chrissy Hughton quite well, having worked with him with Ireland for a while, and he has his teams well organised.

'It's going to be a very tough game, but it's one we have to go into with a very positive attitude and just focus on ourselves and what we have worked on during the week to make sure we put in a proper performance, score some goals again and keep a clean sheet.

'If we play to or strengths, we know we can win the game.'

O'Shea said Sunderland must not panic if they fail to land an early blow against the Canaries, but said they must pose more of a goal threat than they managed at QPR, where they managed just three shots on target, including Steven Fletcher's goal.

'A game lasts for 90 minutes, so if it is 0-0 in the 75th minute there is no problem,' said O'Shea.

'We are just as capable of scoring a goal in the last 10 minutes as we are in the first 10 minutes.

'It's important that the players stand up on Sunday and show bravery and composure, and a willingness to come and take the ball and play football, not hide and shy away from the challenges that we face.'

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Connor Wickham is back permanently at Sunderland after O'Neill opted to turn down Sheffield Wednesday's request for a loan extension. The former Ipswich forward is available to face the Canaries.

Hughton was expected to give an update on his injured list at today's pre-match Press conference at Colney, with winger Anthony Pilkington looking certain to be sidelined by the hamstring injury he suffered in the 0-0 draw against Southampton, and Norway international midfielder Alex Tettey another likely absentee after missing three games with a knee injury.

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