Sbragia targets south coast success

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Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia is urging his players to finally take the chance to confirm their Barclays Premier League status with a win at Portsmouth on Monday night.

The Black Cats remain in 16th place in the table after Saturday's fixtures, but are only a point clear of Hull in 17th and one more better off than derby rivals Newcastle inside the drop zone.

Sbragia said: "We know what we have got to do. We have had nine or 10 weeks to do it and we haven't quite done it."

He added: "But the Bolton game, we definitely, without a doubt, got a good performance and we needed that, to be truthful with you.

"It was a good, valuable point as well and if we had our shooting boots on, we might possibly have got a win.

"We knew it was going to be very difficult, but we surprised a few with how we dealt with the situation."

Sunderland turned in their best performance for some time at the Reebok Stadium, but were unable to make the most of the chances they created and were ultimately indebted to a fine late save by goalkeeper Marton Fulop which secured a point.

They will have to produce a similar performance at Pompey if they are to keep Paul Hart's side, and in particular, England striker Peter Crouch, at bay.

Sbragia said: "He is a good player, a very good player. I can remember at Liverpool when I was at Bolton, he scored two terrific goals against us and he was a handful.

"If you look at the Portsmouth team, he [Hart] has gone for the physical side as well. He has brought in [Younes] Kaboul and [Hermann] Hreidarsson has come in a left-back, so they are a very tall team."

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Marton Fulop
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Peter Crouch
Hull City

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