Sam Allardyce says he's been immensely impressed by Sunderland's Costel Pantilimon

Costel Pantilimon has been in fine form for Sunderland in recent weeks.

Sam Allardyce has told the Shields Gazette that Costel Pantilimon is the second most important member of his Sunderland squad.

Although Allardyce rates a goalscorer as the most crucial part of his team, he feels that Pantilimon’s displays will be key for his side’s chances of survival.

And the Romanian stopper has impressed the 60-year-old boss with his performances so far.

“The goalkeeper is the second most important man in the team, for me,” Allardyce said.

“After your goalscorer, they’re the one who win the points. He’s impressed me immensely since I’ve been here.”

Pantilimon was in fine form in Sunderland’s most recent fixture, as he helped keep Stoke City at bay in a 2-0 victory.

The former Manchester City stopper pulled off a brilliant save from Jonathan Walters in the contest, when the scores were locked at 0-0.

That stop proved to be the turning point in the match, and it enabled Sunderland to pick up a vital victory.

The Black Cats are now out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, and they have won back-to-back fixtures.

Sunerland’s next match comes against Arsenal at the weekend, and they will be determined to keep their momentum going, by picking up a result at the Emirates Stadium.

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