Football

Sbragia won't watch rivals' games

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Ricky Sbragia will ignore Saturday's Barclays Premier League fixtures even though they could plunge Sunderland into the relegation zone.

Victories for derby rivals Newcastle over Fulham and Hull at Bolton could put the Black Cats back into the bottom three before they run out at Portsmouth on Monday evening. By the same token, poor results for the teams currently in 17th and 18th places in the table respectively could leave the Wearsiders all but safe.

Asked if he will have one eye on events at St James' Park and the Reebok Stadium, he said: "No, not really. At 5pm I will, but not during the day. I will be training, I will probably be here [at the training ground] most of the time."

He added: "Hopefully, all the results go for us and they all lose. That will be ideal for us and then on the Monday, we will know exactly what we need to get.

"It might only be a point. It could be a possibility - I might be wrong - but Portsmouth could be safe if the other results go right, so maybe in hindsight, the Monday night has been decent for us."

What happens on Saturday could influence the team and tactics Sbragia employs at Fratton Park, although the point his side claimed at Bolton last week to end a run of six defeats in seven league games at least means their fate remains in their own hands.

He said: "We know what we have got to do, and I have always thought it is in our hands, I have always believed that.

"Touch wood, I hope it goes our way and we get something on Monday and keep in the Premier League. It would be nice to get the win. It would definitely, without any doubt, make us safe.

"We know it's going to be difficult, but they [Portsmouth] will be thinking the same.

"The big thing will be how the results have gone on Saturday and Sunday for us, and then we will know exactly what we will need to do - that could make a difference in the personnel we use."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Portsmouth
Fulham
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Hull City

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