Chris Coleman has refused to underestimate the importance of Tuesday’s game against Bolton Wanderers, declaring it as the ‘game of the season’.
Sunderland sit four points behind the Trotters heading into the match-up and there was nothing to sperate the sides when they met in November, as a six-goal thriller ended level at the Stadium of Light.
Like the Black Cats, Bolton were beaten on Saturday as Queens Park Rangers capatalised on Mark Little’s sending off to clinch three points at Loftus Road.
And with points at a premium down at the bottom, Coleman reiterated that time will run out and it’s now or never for the sides fighting for survival.
“The teams in and around us aren’t going to keep losing also and someone’s going to win and pull away.
“Is it going to be us, it can be if we want it to be. We just need to need it, not hope and wish, we need to go and make it happen.
"There is a lack of cohesion and confidence, there are nerves," continued the Welshman.
"It's not the time of the season to have that problem and we can't afford that – Tuesday's game is the game of the season for us and it'll be a big test.
"There is no place for shrinking violets and if you can't cope, don't pretend you can.
"It's only the strong who give you chance of fighting when you're in the position we're in.
“I still believe in the lads and we need to keep trying, and keep them fired up.”