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 finally got their League One campaign up and running, with a 2-1 win over promotion rivals Portsmouth, following back-to-back 1-1 draws in their opening two fixtures, results that leave the Black Cats in ninth spot, four points off unbeaten top two Lincoln City and Blackpool.
A win against any side was vital at the weekend for Sunderland, but the fact it was against Portsmouth, a side who they enjoyed many close contests with last season and are expected to be in the mix again this season, will have made it all the sweeter.
So how big a boost will it be for Sunderland to have taken three points off one of their main promotion rivals?
“It’s a huge boost and exactly what Ross needed.
“The fans are unhappy after how last season ended and you can understand why as in terms of budget and the size of the club, Sunderland should be going up.
“Therefore, they needed a fast start but it didn’t happen. So, the win on Saturday was huge in terms of relieving the pressure and it will also help the confidence of the group. They also displayed a lot of character to come from behind to win and that was a big thing to do in front of their demanding support.
“They know they can beat one of the better sides in the league and they should use that as a catalyst to get a run going now.”
“Forget about promotion rivals, I think it was just important for Sunderland to get the three points on the board.
“Ross has been under pressure at the Stadium of Light given the side’s amount of draws, so getting a win on the board in the league was important and should give the Black Cats something to really build on – especially after going a goal down.
“Of course, beating someone who is expected to compete against you for automatic promotion is another plus, but Ross would’ve taken a win over anyone.
“Encouraging stuff all-round.”
“It will be a huge weight off Jack Ross’s shoulders.
“After the disappointing end to last season, you felt that Sunderland really needed to make a fast start this time around and that is a win that probably makes it acceptable.
“Had they lost that, you felt the tide could have really turned against the manager but it is a win that will probably buy him a fair bit of time.
“However, they now need to start beating the lesser teams in the league and beating them convincingly.”