Barker hails Crawley comeback

March 13, 2013

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is convinced Sunderland have more than enough to drag themselves well away from the relegation zone come the end of the season.

The Black Cats sunk to a 3-1 defeat at bottom club QPR to become embroiled in the struggle for survival.

But Belgium goalkeeper Mignolet is convinced Sunderland's home form will garner enough points to hit the magical 40-point mark before the current campaign ends.

"We have to look forward and it is important we do that rather than talk about the last couple of games," he said.

"It is important to look upwards and ourselves, to make sure we are ready for the game. We can still end up where we want to be - there's a lot still to play for.

"There's three points up for grabs this weekend and we need to make sure we (get them) and then end the season on a high."

Manager Martin O'Neill has highlighted the importance of getting back to winning ways as soon as possible and Mignolet added: "We have to make sure we're up for it.

"At home, with the crowd behind us, we can get the three points... We can't over-think things. The solution is within ourselves. We need some wins and we have enough ability in this squad to make it happen."

The U's led 2-0 going into the last 15 minutes at the Ricoh Arena after goals from Gavin Massey and Michael Smith, but ended up having to settle for a point after the Sky Blues staged a late fight back to draw 2-2.

Dunne did not appear at the post-match press conference on Tuesday night, but told the Daily Gazette: "We were comfortable and Coventry got booed off at half-time.

"We dealt with their threat and got two goals into the lead. But we then made two clinical errors - we got caught out with the first goal and then we gave a silly free-kick away.

"But we will take the point and move on and it could have been worse, we could have lost.

"Everyone will be saying that it was two points dropped but that's not necessarily the case.

"We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves, we have to push on."

Colchester are four points above the League One relegation zone but the three teams immediately below them all have games in hand.

The visitors led at half-time through a Haydn Hollis own goal, and North End comfortably held on for the three points against a lacklustre Magpies side who are finding goals increasingly difficult to come by.

Grayson, who now has two wins and two draws to his name since taking over at Deepdale following the departure of Graham Westley, felt his side could have won by a bigger margin.

He said: "It's a good win to come here and build off the results we've had so far. We've kept a clean sheet and we could have scored four or five to be honest as we had some outstanding chances that we didn't take.

"We asked the players to show the same desire and attitude that they have done over the last few games and they've done that and I thought it was a really good performance.

"We mixed our game up well - we played when we could play and we battled and scrapped when we had to. There is a real desire among the players at the moment not to get beat."

However, Grayson added that despite the unbeaten run, his side would not be getting carried away.

"We are just looking to finish the season as positively as we can and take some momentum into next season," he said.

"We've come in and tried to give the players some belief as they are good players and I think they have underachieved. The players have been receptive to what we are trying to do."

Goals from Joe Walsh and Matt Sparrow cancelled out Byron Webster and Paddy Madden's first-half efforts, but Barker slammed referee James Adcock's decision not to award a late penalty.

He said: "I thought we weren't at the races in first half but could have been 4-2 up. We hit the crossbar and (Paul) Hayes missed one of the best chances he's ever had.

"We weren't working hard enough and our tempo was nowhere near. We went out just wanting to look good. Some of our football was excellent but we were going nowhere.

"I told the lads a few home truths at half-time and a few of them told each other too. We said we needed to give it a go and I said to them they'd wasted 45 minutes of the season.

"If we got the first goal back I fancied us to win the game. You could argue neither side deserved to lose.

"I think we had a stonewall penalty turned down in the last minute. If that was anywhere else on the pitch it would be a free-kick.

"It just about sums our luck up at the minute. Once you raise your arm and the ball hits it, it's a penalty."