The Black Cats are at home to leaders Leicester next Sunday and then travel to Norwich for what could prove to be a huge match in the context of the relegation battle.
“We have got to beat Leicester next week and then we have got Norwich to come, so the closer we get points-wise to Norwich, the bigger that game is going to be,” said Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce.
“We can’t afford to be any further away. We have a game in hand – which is Everton here – but that doesn’t happen until the last week of the season and we don’t want to be too far away from Norwich when we play them, so we have got to try to beat Leicester now.”
‘Every point is gold dust’ for Palace
Crystal Palace remain the only team in the top four tiers yet to win a game in 2016, but a point away at West Ham pulled them seven points clear of 18th place Sunderland.
“When you are 2-1 down at West Ham, in the form they are in, you take a 2-2,” said manager Alan Pardew.
“I’m delighted for the team and they showed their heart is still very much in it. We’ve got ourselves into a bit of trouble but this is a great result.
“Every point in the Premier League is gold dust, especially to get something at West Ham. It was a great performance and a great result. West Ham had to defend for their lives at the end.”