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Kenwyne Jones reckons Sunderland have been offered the perfect gee-gee-up in their fight against relegation - a day at the races.

Boss Ricky Sbragia is pinning his hope on the horses - and a touch of fantasy football - as his squad battle for survival.

Sbragia asked Jones and his teammates to forecast the results that could save their skins, and he will pin their predictions on the dressing room wall before games so they don't forget.

If the Wearsiders succeed in staying up, Sbragia has pledged to treat his squad to a day at York Races.

Striker Jones said:" We have all taken a step back and looked at the amount of games we had left and what we needed, and what we think is necessary to stay up. We set those targets as a team. So far we have been on track. The next few games will tell us if we're hitting those targets.

"I don't think necessarily 40 is going to save you. It could happen that you might need 42 or whatever so we have to try to pick up as many points as possible. We've looked at the run-ins for the other teams but you never know what's going to happen."

But even if they do stay up, starting with a win at West Brom today, a summer of upheaval could be ahead. Sbragia( above) has known for several weeks that his job is not safe even if he keeps the club up, after comments from chairman Niall Quinn.

A host of continental candidates are lining up to succeed him, including Louis Van Gaal, the Dutch championshipwinning coach of AZ Alkmaar,, but that has not stopped Sbragia" giving my all to the club".

And Sbragia's clever man-management has forced his players to come up with the answers for the run-in. He added:" Neil Bailey, my No. 2, said let's get the players together and make them decide.

We said predict our points, go for goals for, goals against.

"They've come up with a target and we have just pinned it on the walls. For the Hull game, we put it on the door before they went out. Just to remind them of what they've said.

"If they achieve it, I might take them for a day's racing at York as a reward. They'll have deserved it if we do stay up. They've been through a lot. We've just put the onus back on them slightly."

Jones admits that after a summer of spending, and a season that started full of promise, it has been" frustrating" to still be fighting for survival.

He added:" It is little bit disappointing it's got to this stage, but if you look at the league this year it's pretty tight.

What's more disappointing for us is our position now given where we were earlier in the season but that's how it's gone and we have to deal with it."

But Sbragia says it could take three or four seasons for the club to be established in the Premier League - a lesson he learnt at Bolton.

He said: "I want to keep Sunderland up. Whether that's good enough for the people upstairs is another thing. The next three or four years are going to be difficult to be honest. It's always difficult until you get a foot in the door."