JOSH SCOWEN wants Sunderland to hit the play-offs full of confidence by sealing a place in the top six and winning the last three games of the season.

The Black Cats’ automatic promotion hopes have almost disappeared completely following a six-match winless run that was extended courtesy of Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Accrington at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland threw away the lead twice, including a two-goal advantage at half-time, to end with a point which allowed second-placed Peterborough to move nine points clear of them with three matches remaining.

Leaders Hull City are now guaranteed promotion to the Championship.

But Sunderland, who had enjoyed a 14-match unbeaten run before this slump, are having to dig deep and find a new lease of life just to secure a top-six place first and foremost.

Midfielder Scowen, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit of sixth-placed Blackpool, has targeted maximum points in the remaining matches to get Sunderland going again.

He said: “We need to win these next three games go into the play-offs full of confidence. We have had some good performances but not the results.

“We have to stay confident. We are obviously a bit disappointed after that second-half display against Accrington. We have a lot of experienced lads in there, we’ve been here before. We will be confident for Tuesday.

“There’s probably been (people writing us off) all season and we have to deal with that. We have shown we have the belief to win. We have to get back to that mentality.

“At Blackpool last week we had 80 per cent of that game, we controlled it, but they had that bit of luck. We will learn from that and take it on when we play them again on Tuesday.”

Scowen has described the importance of staying focused rather than dwelling for too long on the negatives.

He said: “We are disappointed with the point in the end after a very good first half, creating chances and getting the two goals. We managed to let them back in the game.

“Every game we try to take the positives and learn from the negatives. it is key to get into the play-offs, we have to do that. We have to win Tuesday to build our confidence.”