Sunderland will certainly be feeling the full force of uncertainty within the football world.
A statement from the EFL last week confirmed that all clubs in the Premier League, the EFL and the WSL have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until April 3rd.
This includes all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all Academy and youth team fixtures.
That means that the Wearsiders face the prospect of three weeks without a match – a period which appears highly likely to be extended given the circumstances.
This could have a huge impact on Phil Parkinson’s squad as he prepares for what may – or may not – happen next.
But what are the knock-on effects for Sunderland? Let’s take a look at the three biggest considerations.
The return of injured stars
Sunderland have had a few injury niggles over the last few months which have been troublesome in the promotion push.
A back injury to Charlie Wyke has wreaked havoc for his form, while a groin strain for Lynden Gooch has also been an issue for the Black Cats as they look to perform at the top of their game.
A gap in the fixture list gives those players a chance to shake off these injuries, while also potential giving Bailey Wright a chance to make up some yards in his quest to return to fitness before the end of the season.
A delay in discussing contracts with players
One real consideration will be the future of Sunderland’s out of contract players.
A staggering 10 first-teamers – Jon McLaughlin, Alim Ozturk, Tom Flanagan, Tommy Smith, Joel Lynch, Luke O’Nien, Chris Maguire, Duncan Watmore, Kyle Lafferty and Benji Kimpioka – are all out of contract at the end of the season, not to mention the loan players such as Antoine Semenyo and Bailey Wright.
The Chronicle have claimed that these players could sign weekly deals if the season does overrun, but it’s hardly an ideal situation – particularly with Sunderland’s hopes of reaching the Championship in the balance.
Time to prepare for play-off push
It remains to be seen when (or even if) fixtures will resume – but Phil Parkinson won’t mind.
After extending their winless run to four against Bristol Rovers last week, the Black Cats will be pleased to have a break to lick their wounds and regroup before going again.
The wait for a game could be frustrating, but I’m sure Parkinson will be happy to have some time to work with his players knowing that they have time to put things right before the games get started again.