Phil Parkinson has urged his players to be brave in their approach this weekend at Gillingham.
Sunderland will make the 600-mile round trip to Priestfield Stadium for the second time in under a month on Saturday in search of three vital League One points.
A home double against Coventry City and Burton Albion in the Black Cats’ last batch of fixtures yielded a return of just one point.
But following a 10-day spell to take stock and recharge, Parkinson’s side go again against a Gillingham side who have recently come into form with four wins from their last six.
Speaking to the media at Thursday’s press conference, the 51-year-old called for his players to stand up and be counted before backing his team to be able to deal with the physical nature Gillingham will pose.
“If you go back to the two games we had, the first half at home I thought we played well,” he said.
“We conceded a poor goal in the first 15 minutes of the second half. It took us a while to get going down there and we ended up in a scrap with them and didn't play enough.
"We have got to get both sides of the game right. We have got to stand up to the way they are going to play, which we have got the capabilities to do.
"We have also got to have the calmness in possession to be able to play quickly against them, but we have to get both sides of the game right to give us the best chance of winning three points.”
He continued: "They will play the same team more or less to last time, but they have one injury doubt.
“It is about looking at what we did well in the first game at home and taking that and looking at the away game and say this is what we did well but in terms of going forward and passing the ball, we need to make more of that.
"We have got to show more bravery. We are at a big club and we have to deal with it if it happens again.”