Sunderland winger James McClean has hailed then impact of the supporters following their 1-0 win at home to Everton.

The Republic of Ireland international was quick to pay tribute to the 40,000-strong crowd who witnessed the Black Cats’ second win in a week.

He told the official Sunderland website: “They’re a credit to the club.”

Sunderland’s fortunes have taken a turn for the better since Paolo Di Canio’s arrival, yielding six points from a possible nine; six points currently separates them from the relegation zone.

But McClean credits the Wearside faithful with a hand in improving results, suggesting their presence spurring the players on.

He said: “When the fans pack out the stadium like that it gives you an extra life. They drove us on.”

Reflecting after the Everton clash, he added: “There were points in the game where you could feel your legs going, then you heard the crowd roar and it helped you keep going.”

Tension at the Stadium Light has eased slightly after the rot under Martin O’Neill was conclusively stopped against local rivals Newcastle United.

Premier League football is not yet guaranteed next season however, but with four games remaining and a new manager at the helm, the feeling is Sunderland will do enough to ensure survival.

Their next fixture – at Villa Park next Monday – could play a massive part in deciding who will be competing in the Npower Championship next term.

A Sunderland win would virtually ensure Di Canio’s men will be playing top-flight football again in August. A defeat however would drag them back into a relegation scrap. 

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