Keane desperate to find some consistency
Sunderland boss Roy Keane has admitted one-off victories are no good to him as he tries to pull his side clear of relegation trouble.
The Irishman has spent the last two years or so, and upwards of £70million, building a squad he believes is capable of not only surviving in the Premier League, but of making a real impression.
However, Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by West Ham, coupled with Wigan's home victory by the same score over Everton last night, left the Black Cats just one place and a single point ahead of arch-rivals Newcastle inside the drop zone.
Keane has insisted throughout his reign at the Stadium of Light that consistency is the key, and the lack of that commodity is proving costly this season with just four points separating Fulham in ninth from the Magpies in 18th.
The Wearsiders have not won back-to-back league games this term, and managed to do so only during one purple patch in the last campaign when they sandwiched a home victory over the Hammers with their only two successes on the road, at Aston Villa and Fulham.
Keane said: "The teams down and around where we are aren't capable of getting two or three wins [on the trot]. It's proving difficult for a lot of teams. You seem to have one good result, then two or three bad ones.
"Every now and again, it's easy to win one game of football, but it is continuing to win, that's the problem we have all found, and that's why it is so tight.
"The key is can you get back-to-back results and get up that table? We have not managed to do that ourselves for a long, long time. But the position we are in, if we are not at the races, we will be beaten. We have got to be at it week in, week out.''
However, what is perhaps more of a concern this time around is that Sunderland's home form, or at least their ability to get results at the Stadium of Light, has all too often deserted them.
They collected 30 of the 39 points they managed in the whole of last season on Wearside.
To date, their seven home games in the current campaign have yielded only two wins - over the Magpies and Middlesbrough - and a single draw with Arsenal, with Liverpool, Manchester City, Portsmouth and West Ham leaving with all three points.
With Bolton heading for the north-east this weekend after cruising to a 3-1 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday, that is a situation which has to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Keane said: "Last year, out home form kept us in the Premier League, where our away from wasn't up to scratch. But what we have found in the Premier League home and away, if you don't take your chances, it comes back to haunt you.
"With the players we have, particularly up front now, if we do create opportunities or certainly get more balls into the box, we are capable of scoring more goals.
"But our home form between now and the end of the season will have a major part to play.''
Meanwhile, Sunderland will be represented at Bramall Lane to assess the form of on-loan striker Anthony Stokes.
Stokes is expected to return to the Sheffield United squad for the clash with Coca-Cola Championship leaders Wolves after being left out of Saturday's 5-2 win at Charlton following his late return from international duty with the Republic of Ireland.