Sunderland defender Michael Turner knows the next few weeks could be pivotal in the outcome of the Black Cat's season.

Steve Bruce's side have started the campaign in relatively sluggish style, sitting 14th in the Barclays Premier League with only 10 points from their opening 11 fixtures.

Only three points separates them and the bottom three, but Sunderland's run of fixtures over the next month provides them with hope they can soon climb the table

Bruce's men face fellow strugglers Fulham on Saturday, before encounters with lowly trio Wigan, Wolves and Blackburn.

And Turner believes fortunes will change on Wearside sooner rather than later.

"Looking at the league, we're obviously not far from the bottom three and that's not where anyone wants to be and no-one more so than us," he told the official Sunderland website.

"We want to be in mid-table and fighting to climb up higher so it's an important few weeks coming up.

"All the players know how big it's going to be and I'm sure that if we keep working hard together we'll be fine."

Turner, though, is wary of the threat posed by Martin Jol's unpredictable Fulham side at the weekend.

"It's going to be a tough game, Fulham have been scoring quite a few goals and we know how difficult it's going to be," he added.

"They've got some good, experienced Barclays Premier League players and I think in previous games when we've played them while I've been here they've always been tight games.

"So, it's going to be a big game for us after what's gone before it and we know what we've got to do."

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Michael Turner
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