Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Pile Pressure on Rivals ( Hysen

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Pile Pressure on Rivals ( Hysen

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Sunderland winger Tobias Hysen last night insisted the Black Cats can pursue promotion without pressure as the mind games intensified at the Coca-Cola Championship summit.

The in-form Wearsiders damaged West Bromwich Albion's Premiership prospects with a 2-1 weekend win at The Hawthorns and, although Baggies boss Tony Mowbray is adamant his side will finish ahead of Roy Keane's, recent results suggest otherwise.

None of the club's closest rivals can match the astonishing form of a Sunderland side that has made a decisive move up the table in 2007, with the Black Cats having taken 26 points from the 30 available since the turn of the year.

And although Keane's men still have ground to make up if their dreams of winning automatic promotion to the top flight are to be realised, Hysen believes the Wearsiders have an important psychological advantage in their favour.

"We're in a strong position and, although it's not in our hands, we will put as much pressure on the teams above us as it is possible to do," said the Swede. "We're under no pressure but the teams above us are. As long as we keep on winning, the pressure will be on them.

"We have been playing catch-up for the whole season. Now we're right up there and we're setting our aim on the top two places. It's up to Derby and Birmingham to stay there and not let us catch them. That's pressure."

The Black Cats have caught a West Brom team that began the New Year five places above them and Mowbray's post-match comments on Saturday evening suggested the Teessider is beginning to feel the heat. Three clubs still have a positional advantage over Keane's side but it is clear who is moving with the most momentum as the campaign heads for an fascinating climax.

"We fancy ourselves against any team in this division," said Hysen last night. "We have beaten Derby twice and we have beaten West Brom twice. The only team we have had problems with is Preston.

"We have shown that we're as good as anyone else and if we continue like this, we will have a good chance to get into the top two. …

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