John O’Shea has rallied his Sunderland teammates in Dubai this week. The Black Cats skipper firmly believes that the competition for places within the squad can fire the Mackems to Premier League safety, writes the Sunderland Echo.

The impact of recent signings Wahbi Khazri, Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone and Dame N’Doye have made spaces in the starting eleven much harder to attain than previously thought going into the Winter transfer window. Along with Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Larsson returning from injury over the coming weeks, you can only hope the experienced centre-half is speaking the truth.

Sunderland currently sit a point from safety with 12 games remaining to secure yet another season in the top flight, with arch rivals Newcastle and Alex Neil’s Norwich City only a point ahead of them.

The Irish international, who has lead the defence for the majority of the past few weeks, has said:

Ultimately, it’s down to ourselves. With a win you put more pressure on the other teams, but if they get a win, it’s ultimately down to us. That’s what we’ve shown in the last few weeks and with the impact the new boys have had, hopefully it improves the competition in the squad.

The Lads have recently spent some time in the Middle-East after a break from fixtures following the 5th Round of the FA Cup. Hopefully, a successful training week under the sun can inspire the Black Cats to take seven points from a possible nine away to West Ham on Saturday afternoon.