Conners: We Must Push On

David Connolly says he is quite content to continue playing behind the front two if that is required of him.

Whether the same system is employed against Sunderland remains to be seen, but David is prepared to carry on if that is what Alan Pardew is looking for.

"It is different, but the manager wants me to play there, and if that's what he wants I am happy to do that," he insists.

"We have got a lot of good players and to be in the team alongside those players delights you, obviously.

"I have been playing a different role but one the manager wants me to do; I am happy to do it, and I feel I am getting used to it.

"You still get chances; I had one Saturday when I probably should have scored against West Brom, although you do have a bit more defensive responsibility."

David knows that changes could be on the cards with players returning from injury and suspension, and he adds:

"Mattie and J are back now, and Steve Lomas is coming back as well so it looks bright, definitely.

"You want everyone to perform well and hopefully everyone will respond from Tuesday.

"You don't want to see anyone out the side but if someone comes in hopefully they will take the opportunity."

And is the 10-point gap to the top reachable?

"I think so; there have been teams that have mounted surges in the past but there is no doubt it was a big missed opportunity on Tuesday," says David.

"We could have gone fourth on Tuesday, but we have had a few of those this season when we could have gone further and we have to start producing.

"The games come thick and fast and Sunderland on Saturday will be another difficult one, but I don't think they will sit behind the ball like Stoke did if they go a goal up.

"Hopefully it will be a good game - and we normally perform well against the so-called top teams.

"I don't know if it is a 'must-win' but obviously it is a game we want to win and if we want to keep in contact we will have to."

Looking at the Stoke game, when the opposition raced to the other end to score after his free kick had struck the post, David says:

"It was a tough game against a good side - but we didn't make it easy for ourselves.

"We didn't start very well particularly when they scored from nearly scoring ourselves - it was a kick in the teeth.

"They made it ever so hard for us; full credit to them, they have got some good players, but it was disappointing.

"This season, and I don't want to whinge, but things do seem to have gone against us - so hopefully we have got all that out of the way.

"But you have to work hard at it, because it won't just come to us - and hopefully things will turn."