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Jeff Stelling: Sunderland have a fantastic chance of survival if they beat Cardiff

but may need a miracle just like my team, Hartlepool, got this week...

Image: Gus Poyet: 'has done a terrific job at Sunderland whatever happens this season'

When you get to this stage of season I do start to feel for clubs like Sunderland, Cardiff, Barnsley, Shrewsbury and all those battling relegation in their respective divisions.

Cat fight

Sunderland gave Hartlepool a huge helping hand this season by loaning them two players. One of whom is a guy called Scott Harrison who played against Morecambe and was magnificent - he was more like Harrison Ford than Scott Harrison. The Black Cats host relegation rivals Cardiff this weekend and yes, the loser looks destined to go down. Gus Poyet's side had that amazing win at Chelsea but, the problem is, of their 29 points this season 21 of those have been against sides in the top half - that's when they seem to perform. I don't mean to offend anyone in Cardiff but my North East bias says that Sunderland will win it and if they do, they have a fantastic chance of getting out of this. Whatever happens to them this season I think Poyet has done a terrific job.


Both Hartlepool and Sunderland were real contenders this week but I've gone with Millwall for their win at Middlesbrough last weekend. It's taken a little while for Ian Holloway but he's now had three consecutive away wins. Their two goals at the Riverside were scored by Stefan Maierhofer, who I described as a 'Giant German' - only to discover he's from Austria a little later - but Giant Austrian doesn't have quite the same alliterative ring to it. He'll have to become the 'Awesome Austrian' or something. Millwall have come back from the dead and they've given themselves an absolutely cracking chance of survival, but they haven't got an easy finish away at QPR and at home to Bournemouth. It's a big weekend for Ian Holloway because he had five years as player and five as a manager at QPR. I hope he gets a warm welcome and he might just get the points he needs to survive.

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