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May 6, 2013

Wigan's Scharner confident of survival

Paul Scharner insists that serial escapologists Wigan have blown the relegation battle wide open - and seen to it that 40 points won't be enough for Premier League survival this season.

The on-loan Austrian has the whiff of another surge for safety in his nostrils after making a winning return to his former club West Brom on Saturday.

Roberto Martinez's side are at home to Swansea on Tuesday in their game in hand and will by then know how Sunderland have fared in their clash at the Stadium of Light with a Stoke team who are locked with Aston Villa and Fulham on 40 points.

"On Tuesday, we can totally close the gap and go up over the line," Scharner said. "It was vital we won against West Brom and I need to praise the boys because we came back twice from losing. It's an amazing victory.

"Everything is now important because Aston Villa are still winning and Newcastle got a point. You never with Norwich...they play West Bromwich now. We need to focus every single game and try to get three points every game.

"We said before it was a must-win game. We still have three games to play and we have to believe in ourselves. As the song says, 'we are believers' and we just carry on. If we get all the points we're safe.

"It has totally changed from a week ago when it looked like Wigan or Villa. You definitely need 40 points this season. Definitely. And maybe that's not enough."

Scharner admitted he was lost for words after the 'outstanding' reception he was given at The Hawthorns and says he will be emotional for a different reason on Monday.

In a week that ends with their Wembley showdown against Manchester City, he knows there will be tension both on Wearside and then at the DW Stadium for Swansea's visit.

But the club who know all about staying up from his earlier four and a half years there are well poised to pull off another rescue act.

"Sunderland's result is a very important one but we're focussed on us because we have it in our hands," he added.

"It looks like Wigan is always waiting for the last game of the season. Maybe we need to keep the season exciting and if we play in the middle of the table, no-one is excited. We are always looking to fight against relegation. Look how many grey hairs I've got!

"It was a very tough challenge at West Brom, especially for the defence because their strikers have very good movement and they're always looking for the long ball.

"We need to be careful. We need to keep the focus on us. We can beat everybody and anybody. We need to believe in ourselves. We're looking game-to-game. We need to play Swansea first, get a result and then enjoy the FA Cup final."

Scharner admitted he was saddened by the reaction of Albion fans to his former team-mate Peter Odemwingie, who he met a couple of weeks ago. But he insists he will be keeping the contents of their conversation private.

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