Sunderland’s Connor Wickham hopes to slip out of closely contested relegation zone

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Every Premier League season, you have teams that are trying their best to stay afloat and avoid demotion to England’s second-tier.

This year, Sunderland is one of those squads, positioned at 18th place in the final relegation spot. With small margins deciding much of the table’s bottom half, the final standings are far from decided.

The Black Cats drew Stoke City, 1-1, yesterday at Britannia Stadium off of forward Connor Wickham’s goal in the 1st minute.

Now, Dick Advocaat’s outfit, holding a 30-point tally, stands only five points away from Newcastle in 14th place, but won’t forget that last-place Burnley is merely four points off.

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Wickham, Sunderland’s leading scorer, is optimistic that his side can pull together in the season’s final stretch.

“There are only five games left, but it is still a long way to go,” he said, via Sky Sports.

“And although it is going to be difficult, I think we have more than enough talent in the changing room to take on the teams we have got to play and get the points we need to stay safe…

“I think the way we performed in the second half, if we keep doing that from now until the end of the season, we will be more than fine.”

Sunderland, though, will not enjoy a bundle of average opponents, as the conclusion to their schedule makes them encounter several high-caliber sides.

The Black Cats face Southampton next week and then Everton, who just defeated Manchester United, 3-0, the following week. Games vs. Arsenal and Chelsea finalize the year after a winnable match against Leicester City,

That’s a bit of a gauntlet for sure, even though the Blues will likely have little to worry about at the end of May.