Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson is looking for his players to be bold when they head to Hull for Tuesday night's League One clash.

The Black Cats boss wasn't too critical of his side's performance in the 1-0 defeat at Blackpool on Saturday, despite the setback meaning their chances of securing a top-two spot are now remote.

However, after losses to Charlton and Wigan, the performance levels at Blackpool were improved from the visitors, and it was only fine margins which cost Sunderland.

Hull can clinch promotion back to the Championship on Tuesday if results go their way, but Johnson is looking for more of the same from his players - with a better slice of luck.

"I have to be honest with them, and I thought we did OK (at Blackpool)," he said when asked if he had a message for his players ahead of the Hull test.

"We asked for encouragement from the bench and on the pitch, which I thought they did, we asked for boldness and creativity, which I thought we tried to do, although didn't always have the final ball or the end delivery.

"It's not a time to be ultra critical of the players. The criticism came from the previous game (Wigan) and the game before that (Charlton) due to switching off, but that wasn't the case at Blackpool."

A win on Humberside will keep their hopes of an automatic promotion place alive, although they will need the Tigers and second-placed Peterborough to slip up again.

However, hitting the right form ahead of an expected play-off battle could be just as important for Sunderland.

"It looks now that it is going to be extremely difficult to get into that top two, which is very disappointing after putting so much effort into getting there," admitted Johnson.

"Now we have to secure that second chance, but keep going and building performances because you never know it might still happen because there are still 15 points to play for."