View from the opposition: Experience gives Sunderland edge over Norwich City and Newcastle

Lamine Kone, left, and Jermain Defoe are key to Sunderlands survival hopes. Picture: PA/Richard Sell

Lamine Kone, left, and Jermain Defoe are key to Sunderlands survival hopes. Picture: PA/Richard Sellers - Credit: PA

As the Premier League relegation battle heats up, we speak to fans of Norwich City's main relegation rivals Sunderland and Newcastle about their team's chances.

Summer signing Jeremain Lens, pictured competing with Norwich City's Robbie Brady in the Canaries' 3

Summer signing Jeremain Lens, pictured competing with Norwich City's Robbie Brady in the Canaries' 3-1 win at the Stadium of Light in August, has been a disappointing addition for Sunderland. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City's awful form has many fans fearing the worst about the club's Premier League survival prospect – and they are not alone in their fears.

Sunderland and Newcastle are very much in trouble as well, with just one point separating the trio and all three teams still to face each other one last time before the season is over.

As the season moves into the finishing straight, we talk to fans of both of City's rivals about their fears – as both clubs battle with the Canaries to hang on to their top-flight status.

Answering the questions were SalutSunderland.com contributor Peter Sixsmith and Newcastle supporter Adam Curry.

Jonjo Shelvey has been one of the bright spots recently for Newcastle, following his January transfe

Jonjo Shelvey has been one of the bright spots recently for Newcastle, following his January transfer from Swansea. Picture: PA/Owen Humphreys - Credit: PA

Sunderland

Are you feeling confident that Sunderland will escape relegation?

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I think that we have a good chance – after all, we are rather good at it. The new players who have arrived in January – Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri – have all made positive contributions so I see us as having a 60/40 chance of staying up.

Chancel Mbemba, seen tackling Dieumerci Mbokani during Norwich City's 6-2 loss at St James' Park in

Chancel Mbemba, seen tackling Dieumerci Mbokani during Norwich City's 6-2 loss at St James' Park in October, has been one of Newcastle's best performers this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Have the Black Cats deserved more points than they've taken in recent matches?

We should have won at Southampton and taken a point from our visit to West Ham. That would have given us a cushion and would have had Swansea and Palace looking worried while Norwich and Newcastle would have been panicking. But we didn't, so here we are trying to win a three-team tournament.

Has Sam Allardyce done a good job since taking over?

Yes. If we'd had him from the start of the season, we would be looking forward to a boring end of season and very few games switched to inconvenient kick-off times to suit the two TV companies. But we didn't.

Fabricio Coloccini has been one of Newcastle's least impressive players so far this season. Picture:

Fabricio Coloccini has been one of Newcastle's least impressive players so far this season. Picture: PA/John Walton - Credit: PA

Which players are key to your survival hopes?

Jermain Defoe is the man who will (hopefully) score the goals to keep us up. Jan Kirchhoff will hold up the midfield. Lamine Kone will be the man who cements the defence. A strong spine through the team makes all the difference.

Which players have been letting you down?

Jeremain Lens has been a disappointment and it doesn't look as if his stay on Wearside will be a long one. Both clubs know about under-performing Dutch strikers. Most players have given us their best.

How many more points do you feel are needed to survive?

I think that another 12 will do it, particularly if we can beat Newcastle and Norwich or at least not lose to them.

Are Swansea and Palace still vulnerable?

Three weeks ago, I thought Swansea would go down. Now, they are in a much healthier position. Palace must be cursing their luck; they have conceded crucial goals in the last minute in the last two games. Alan Pardew is a bit of a choker; if they lose the next two, they are down there with us. There is always one team..... (you know the rest).

And finally, do you see Norwich or Newcastle as your biggest threat?

It depends if Steve McClaren continues at the Sports Direct. If he does, I think we will be okay. I'm sorry to say that I think City will go; young manager who has had no experience of this and a squad that looks as if it has run out of steam. However, if McClaren goes and they bring in a new man with some organisational ability, I see them as the ones we have to fear.

Newcastle

Are you feeling confident that Newcastle will escape relegation?

Not overly. If McClaren remains in charge then relegation is all but confirmed. He has lost the dressing room and his techniques are not working. If a new manager comes in, we stand a chance (new manager bounce etc).

Have the Magpies deserved more points than they've taken in recent matches?

No. Performances have been disjointed, players lack belief, team selections have been baffling and most importantly, the players' attitude has been questionably poor.

McClaren is reportedly set to be sacked, do you agree that is the right decision?

Yes. He has had enough time to try and turn things around, but performances have been getting worse. A new manager is our last roll of the dice. We have a decent crop of players, but McClaren has been unable to get the best out of them all season.

Which players are key to your survival hopes?

We desperately need Chancel Mbemba back. He has been very assured this year, Fabricio Coloccini, pictured left, less so. Gini Wijnaldum needs to reproduce his early season form, and Jonjo Shelvey has played well since joining in January.

Which players have been letting you down?

Where do I begin? Coloccini has been a disgrace. The likes of Paul Dummett, Jack Colback, Yoan Gouffran and Manu Riviere are just not good enough. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been a disappointment goal wise, but his hold play is excellent.

How many more points do you feel are needed to survive?

I think 37 will be enough to survive, so another 13 points from 10 games.

Are Swansea and Palace still vulnerable?

Swansea have been putting in some good performances recently, so think they are safe. Palace however could be vulnerable. No wins in 12 for Pardew, who seems to have continued his 'good start, awful thereafter' routine at Palace.

And finally, do you see Norwich or Sunderland as your biggest threat?

McClaren is right by saying it is now a three-team league down at the bottom. Given their lack of goals, I think Norwich will go down. Sunderland's ability to drag themselves clear every year is a worry.