Steve Howey has stated that it is hard for Sunderland to get out of Sky Bet League One, with the former Newcastle United man making the comments during an exclusive interview with Football League World.
This is now the North East outfit’s third successive season at this level after missing out on promotion twice during their first two attempts, with the Black Cats coming closest in the 2018/19 campaign as they lost out in the play-off final to Charlton Athletic in dramatic circumstances.
Now, Lee Johnson’s men are once again faced with a do or die task of attempting to go one better in the play-offs this term as they prepare to face Lincoln City in the semi-finals.
The Imps are arguably in better form than their opponents, with Sunderland having only won two of their last 10 league games, which only adds to the pressure that is put on the shoulders of the players by an ever expectant fan base.
Of course, the Black Cats suffered two successive relegations before finding themselves at this level and as a result, a quick return to the Championship has been sought by the fans and owners alike as they bid to repair the damage that has been caused over the last five years.
Whilst speaking exclusively about the subject to Football League World, Howey was quick to pinpoint just how hard it is for Sunderland and other larger sides to get out of the third tier:
“You only have to look at Sunderland a few years ago – relegated, relegated.
“It is a tough league, it’s absolutely brutal. Games come thick and fast in League One as they do in the Championship. But it’s games that come thick and fast against good teams, good players and good pros. And that gives you that better standard and it takes its toll if you’re not ready for it.”