This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sunderland are loving life at the moment.
Since Lee Johnson took charge in early December the club have been in rampant form after moving away from their mid-table position and into the promotion mix.
While the play-offs appeared to be a big enough target to start with, it now seems that the Black Cats are closing in on the automatic promotion spots.
But are the Wearsiders now favourites for the top two?
The team at FLW have their say…
They’ve got a sea of momentum behind them now and, in the past, we’ve seen what that can do for a club the size of Sunderland.
Hull and Peterborough are looking very strong right now, but you really wouldn’t be backing against the Black Cats at this stage to overhaul one of that pair.
Lee Johnson is proving to be a top appointment, who has finally got an impressive squad realising their potential.
Favourites might be a step too far, but Sunderland have real chance of crashing into the top-two given what they are building right now.
Maintaining that might just end this League One nightmare.
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When you look at the current circumstances, I do think that they have to be.
Given they sit five points off league leaders Hull, with two games in hand, an automatic promotion spot is effectively in Sunderland’s hands here, and after passing up chances in the past couple of seasons, they will be desperate not to let it go this time around.
Having won nine of their last ten games, and with the confidence of that Wembley win under their belt, it also seems as though the momentum is in Sunderland’s favour as we head into the final stretch of the season.
Indeed, an encouraging, goal-scoring debut for Ross Stewart against Accrington may also go some way to easing fears about an over-reliance on Charlie Wyke between now and the end of the campaign, another thing that works in their favour.
Obviously, Sunderland fans will know as well as any that things can change quickly in football, so they might not be getting carried away just yet, but I can certainly see reasons to be optimistic for those associated with the Black Cats.
They’ve got to be taken seriously.
Sunderland have been brilliant in recent weeks, and there doesn’t seem to be much stopping Lee Johnson’s side at the moment.
The Black Cats boss seems to be getting the best out of his current options, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up winning the league with the momentum they currently have.
If they can win these games in hand, I’m almost certain that they’ll make a long overdue return to the Championship this season.
The teams in and around them haven’t shown the consistency needed to be taken as serious promotion contenders, and that’ll play into Sunderland’s favour, as momentum is vital at this stage of the campaign, and they’ve got plenty of that.