Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has warned his side they still have much work to do to ensure their Premier League survival, with a trip to Sunderland next up on Saturday.
Last weekend’s 2-0 win over Southampton left Leicester three points clear of the relegation zone following a run of six wins in seven top-flight matches.
Sunderland, meanwhile, are a point worse off than Leicester with a game in hand and Pearson is quick to stress the King Power Stadium outfit cannot afford to take their foot of the gas in their remaining pair of fixtures.
“The two games are ones that we have to get the right result for us,” he said. “The game against Sunderland is a very important game but, in the context of the season, it remains very much a similar message.
“That is that we want it to be in our own hands, but this gives us another opportunity.
“Our efforts in this run have made it a more realistic possibility to stay up. I don’t think I’ll fall into the trap of going into any game thinking the job is done. That’s not the case.”
Midfielder Matty James was ruled out for up to nine months with a knee injury on Thursday, but Pearson will welcome back Andy King from a calf problem.
He added: “We’ve got a fit squad to choose from and we’ve had that for the vast majority of the season.”
Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat is under no illusions as to the magnitude of Saturday’s fixture, with daunting trips to Arsenal and Chelsea to follow, although a fortune-filled 2-0 win at Everton last weekend should boost morale on Wearside.
“This is a champion’s game and if we do it well the club can start thinking on a brighter future,” he told the club’s official website. “It is a great club with a great stadium and great facilities, so you can see that the club deserves more than to be at the bottom.
“Both home and away the supporters have been really good and they’ve stood behind the team, but on Saturday they have to give everything.
“It gives every player extra energy when they hear the noise of the crowd and we need to make it [the atmosphere] special in this game.”
John O’Shea remains a doubt for Sunderland after sustaining a rib injury in a 2-1 win over Southampton earlier this month, while there are also question marks over the fitness of Jack Rodwell (hamstring).
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