Terry Connor tries to keep Wolves from the door with draw at Sunderland
Sunderland 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
This morning, the ritual will begin. Terry Connor will arrive at Wolverhampton Wanderers' training ground. He will plan the day, watch a DVD of this match (lucky man), meet his staff and then try to convince his players that sitting eight points from safety at the foot of the Premier League with four games left is not the end of the world and that the visit of Manchester City to Molineux on Sunday is a great opportunity.
"It's not easy but you've got to [keep believing]," he said. "If there is the slightest bit of defeatism around the place that won't do and the players will pick up on that. Every Monday morning you come back in and dust yourself down and make sure you are in nice and early.
"We have nothing to lose against City, have we? The pressure is on at both ends of the table, they are fighting for their lives at the top and we are at the bottom. Bring it on. It will be a different game on Sunday and hopefully we will get something from the game.
"The fans still believe and we now have to move on to the next game and give supporters something to cheer against City."
All admirable, but Connor has been powerless to affect any kind of positive change at Wolves and those in charge must surely take a good look at themselves when relegation is confirmed. In contrast, Sunderland's resurgence after Martin O'Neill took over a relegation-haunted side has been such that moving into ninth place with his grim draw was jeered.
"I know players are always fighting for places but there are one or two positions here where they could cement a place for next season, or the opposite might happen," said O'Neill. "James McClean has electrified the place, I don't think I'm being too strong when I say that. He's been a major plus and comparisons with Gareth Bale? Why not?"
Sunderland: MIGNOLET 6/10, BARDSLEY 6, TURNER 6, KILGALLON 6, RICHARDSON 6, LARSSON 6, GARDNER 5, COLBACK 7, McCLEAN 6, SESSEGNON 6, BENDTNER 5
Wolves: HENNESSEY 6, WARD 6, BERRA 6, STEARMAN 6, FOLEY 6, FORDE 6, HENRY 6, DAVIS 5, KIGHTLY 6, FLETCHER 5, EBANKS-BLAKE 5
Substitutes: Sunderland Campbell (Gardner, 78). Wolves Jarvis 6 (Forde, 61), Edwards (Kightly, 76), Zubar (Foley, 82).
Booked: Wolves Stearman.
Man of the match Colback. Match rating 1/10.
Possession: Sunderland 50% Wolves 50%.
Attempts on target: Sunderland 6 Wolves 8.
Referee M Jones (Cheshire).
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