Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferdinand Insists: We Won't Go Down

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferdinand Insists: We Won't Go Down

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

ANTON Ferdinand has attempted to steady the jangling nerves on Wearside by assuring supporters that relegation "will not happen"

to Sunderland - and that the Black Cats still have one eye on a top-ten finish.

Ferdinand is in line for a return to the Sunderland side for the crucial trip to Manchester City on Sunday - by which time the cushion between the Black Cats and the bottom three could have been cut to less than three points.

It is a precarious position for Sunderland to be in ahead of the final nine games of the season, but while the Black Cats defender acknowledges that there is plenty of hard work to be done before top-flight status can be assured, he sees no prospect of the club dropping into the Championship.

"It would be unthinkable to go down. But we're not even dwelling on it because it's not going to happen," Ferdinand said.

"We've got to pull our fingers out, start grafting and get back to playing the kind of football that we know we can play.

"Football is a funny game and you can never say never, but in my eyes that's never going to happen."

"Things are very tight and it makes people nervous but it is what makes the Premier League so interesting. Anyone from ninth to eighth can still go down.

"But on the other hand that gives us an incentive because they're not that far away from us if we go on another run."

Ferdinand, of course, has previous in relegation scraps - having emerged from West Ham's controversial flirtation with relegation two seasons ago.

Putting aside the Carlos Tevez controversy, which continues to rumble on almost two years since his goals condemned Sheffield United to the Championship, Ferdinand learned plenty from that highly-pressurised situation.

"It went down to the wire with West Ham. Those were games with pressure beyond belief - every game was like a Cup final and we managed to get out of it. …

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