Sunderland manager Jack Ross has issued a confident message to supporters today, stating that he believes his side are still in a good position for automatic promotion.
They’ve missed a chance to move ahead of Barnsley this week, drawing 1-1 with Wycombe before failing to beat Daniel Stendel’s side in midweek.
That’s left them four points adrift of their promotion rivals, albeit with a game in hand.
That point gap is likely to increase as Barnsley play matches over the international weekend, and again a week later when Sunderland are in the EFL Trophy final.
It will heap further pressure on them for results, but speaking to the Sunderland Echo a bullish Ross seemed confident in chasing the top two.
Are Sunderland still in the chase for an automatic promotion spot?
Our Football League experts discuss.
“Not at all – it could come back to haunt him.
“Sunderland are third so they are not in pole position and having a game in hand does not guarantee three points.
“I think it is bold to be so optimistic about going up second.
“If they fail to achieve that, it leaves Ross open for vast amounts of criticism.”
“In a way.
“I think it is a big ask now for Sunderland to make the top two, Barnsley and Luton are showing no signs of slowing down at all.
“But what would it say to his players if he said they didn’t have a chance of the top two?”
“I think it sends the right message to his players.
“There’s a lot of football to be played and Sunderland have a big squad to draw from.
“Barnsley have lost players such as Kieffer Moore and Brad Potts too.
“This is far from over.”