Macca looking forward to Sunderland

Neil McDonald says Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Hull City will give the team a springboard to go and play with a bit more freedom against Sunderland on Monday night.

All the signs point to a close encounter at the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats fight to get out of the drop zone, but assistant manager McDonald believes that victory over Hull - sealed with a Mark Noble penalty and James Chester own goal - will give his team a confidence boost at a vital time.

"The win against Hull took a bit of pressure off us. After going on such a fine run in February which saw us pick up four straight wins but then losing the last three games at the start of this month, it was vitally important we beat Hull.

"Performance wise, of course we can do better, but it was all about winning the game and trying to get the three points and I believe on the back of that, we can hopefully play with a bit more freedom because of this result at Sunderland in what will be another hard-fought match on Monday evening."

McDonald said while there may have been an element of good fortune at times, it was mixed with the determination by the team to keep going to snare the win at the Boleyn Ground against Steve Bruce's men.

"We will certainly take the penalty. Mark [Noble] has a fantastic record of sticking it in the back of the net from the penalty spot and as usual, he put the goalkeeper the wrong way which was great.

"We were a little bit nervy, we just needed that second goal to take the pressure off a touch and that didn't happen and they [Hull] scored a deflected goal which puts everyone on the back foot. But we stayed together, we tried to keep everything simple, put the ball in the box and had some luck when their lad [Chester] put the ball in his own net under pressure and we won the game 2-1.

"So it was all really about winning the game and if we can continue to put points on the board, then the performances will follow."

Gus Poyet's Sunderland side await Sam Allardyce's team on Monday and are currently nine points adrift of the Hammers.

"We are in a bit more of a comfortable position yes and we are in eleventh place, but we know there's still work to do and games to win yet. A lot of teams though are in positions where they will have to do a lot of work over the coming games to try and catch us up, but if we can keep putting the points on the board then they can't catch us up.

"That is simply what we have to do between now and the end of the season, keep putting the points on there, whether that is three points or one point, the quicker we get safer the better."