SUNDERLAND skipper John O’Shea feels a multitude of things have led to the club’s decline in recent years, including having to rely on players who haven’t even wanted to be at the Stadium of Light.

Now O'Shea is calling for the club's owner Ellis Short to give manager Chris Coleman the help he needs during this month's transfer window to climb away from the bottom three.

The Black Cats prop up the Championship ahead of Saturday’s trip to promotion contenders Cardiff City, with the prospects of playing in League One next season growing.

Coleman has managed to deliver three league wins from a team which only boasted one previously under Simon Grayson, but the challenge remains a huge one.

With no money to spend during the transfer window and Coleman scouring the loan market for new arrivals having already landed Chelsea defender Jake Clarke-Salter, this month will be critical to the fight for survival.

O’Shea has been on Wearside since 2011 and has experienced the struggles in the Premier League in recent years and knows how things have developed this year too – and has his reasons.

“It’s all well and good talking about games and numbers we have, that’s what we have to do, we have games in front of us and we need to improve,” said O’Shea.

“The manager has spoken about the players at the club, the players who want to be here at the minute. That’s the people we need here, the people who want to face that challenge, then it’s about rebuilding with the players who want to be here and want to be dedicated to the club and to make Sunderland challenge at the right end of the table and in the right leagues as well.”

He added: “Trust me, there’s been a lot more than that (players not wanting to be here). That’s just one answer. It would be great to tell you just one simple answer but it’s not like that, believe me. There are lots of things.

“We are down at the bottom of the Championship. The manager is trying to instill the idea of ‘we have been picking up more clean sheets, wins’ but we have not got that consistency yet.

“He is trying to get the right people into the building, who want to fight and show they want to play for Sunderland. If those things can happen then we will be better for sure.”

There are still players Coleman would like to offload to strengthen his own chances of adding to the squad as well as improving the atmosphere within the camp. The truth is, if offers came along, he would have to listen.

Short, the club’s owner, is reluctant to put any more cash in having invested heavily over the years, even though his money has been poorly spent after a string of questionable decisions on the recruitment and managerial front.

O’Shea knows times are hard, although he is adamant there are still plenty of positives to be focused on as Coleman attempts to revive fortunes of the ailing club.

He said: “The way the Championship is, we could be out of the bottom three quickly. Our own objective in the club is to be out of there very quickly. The manager is going to need help from the owner, fingers crossed he will get that.

"If he doesn’t then everyone here will have to step up, and hope the manager can do loans or whatever in the next couple of weeks. We have to do the best we can, look forward to the challenges ahead and push our chests out and be ready for it.

“People are saying we are beaten, battered and bruised, but we have to remember that we are healthy and doing a job we are very lucky to be doing.

“This is our first season in the Championship for a number of years, God knows how many consecutively we had in the Premier League as a club, we got to a final a few years ago, the club did enjoy good times, but things have not gone to plan in recent years.

“We are still in a privileged position to get paid for playing football, we have to remember that and try to enjoy our football. We are representing a club where we are, the area and we have to continue to try to improve what we are doing."

Sunderland can still climb out of the relegation zone if they stun Cardiff on Saturday. Coleman could turn straight to new signing Clarke-Salter to slot into the defence in South Wales.

The England Under-20s centre-back is likely to be just the first of a number of new arrivals, with former Queens Park Rangers defender Steven Caulker another under consideration following his release from Loftus Road.

If Clarke-Salter does go straight into the side, O’Shea is confident the 20-year-old can adapt to the strains of the relegation fight straightaway.

O’Shea said: “He trained with us on Tuesday and was very positive. He is great vocally and technically he looks to be a very good talent. Let’s just let him settle in and enjoy the experience.

“I remember the first couple of loans I had, it can be daunting. He has gone from a massive club and is willing to come to Sunderland and fight to keep us up. That’s a huge positive because he will have had other options to choose.

“Anyone who comes in will have a chance to play if they can maintain the level of performance and that will be crucial for us.”