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Thu, Oct
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Carlos Edwards insists the only way is up for Sunderland - and not via the play-offs. The Black Cats take on Championship leaders Derby County at the Stadium of Light tomorrow looking to halve the six-point gap between the sides.


The Wearsiders broke into the play-off places last weekend and lie fifth in the table, but in-form winger Edwards claims they are far from content with that.

There are still 12 games to go and Sunderland are in an excellent position to challenge for an automatic promotion slot.

Edwards said: "It is not over yet and we will keep going up to the final whistle in the final game of the season.

"We are in a position where we can go for automatic promotion and we are the in-form team at the moment.

"We are unbeaten in 2007 in the league and hopefully we can continue that record right up to the end of the season."

Edwards gave Sunderland the lead at promotion rivals Birmingham on Tuesday, only for Roy Keane's side to concede a last-minute equaliser.

However, they still moved a point closer to the Championship summit as Derby lost 2-0 at home to Stoke the following night.

Edwards said: "That was a good result for Stoke and for us.

"We were a bit disappointed with the 1-1 draw at Birmingham. They stuck at it and scored their goal in the end but we cannot let what happened set us back.

"We are still in a good position to gain automatic promotion." Edwards will line up against a familiar face in Derby's Durham-born frontman Steve Howard.

The pair were team-mates at Luton until Howard moved to Pride Park last summer with Edwards following him out of Kenilworth Road in January to head for the Stadium of Light.

Edwards added: "I know Stevie well from the year and a half I spent at Luton.

"He is a good striker, strong and powerful. We will be friends off the field tomorrow but for 90 minutes we will be enemies.

"He has scored a lot of important goals for Derby this season and our defence will have to be on their toes against him."

Trinidad and Tobago star Edwards has been in excellent form in recent weeks with his pace terrorising opposing full-backs, earning him a new nickname in the process.

He laughed: "The lads have given me the nickname Roadrunner.

"I am happy with that and it is great to have your team-mates encouraging you. I have been pleased with my form recently but I know I can still do a bit better.

"We have put in good team performances recently and I hope the manager has been happy with my contribution."

Sunderland are expecting a bumper crowd but supporters can still pay on the day.

Tickets are priced from £8 to £24 and cash turnstiles seven, eight, 39, 40, 47, 48, 55, 56, 63, 64, 65 and 66 will be open.