Lee Johnson has a lot to think about following his side’s battering at Rotherham United on Saturday.
Aiden McGeady’s second half red card did not help matters but Sunderland were beaten all over the pitch as the Millers ran out 5-1 winners.
The Black Cats’ automatic promotion push has slowed a touch since the last international break and they will be hoping to avoid a third straight defeat when they travel to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday evening.
Johnson is contemplating multiple ways to combat the recent poor performances and even suggested January recruitment to solve their problems when he spoke to the Northern Echo.
He said: “We have to learn the lesson, but we’ve already had a couple of those lessons this season, such as the defeat at Portsmouth, and then we’ve continued with the same pattern.
“So whether that’s a change of personnel, whether that’s a change of tactic, whether that’s additions in January, that’s something we’ve got to snuff out to be more solid when we’re under the cosh.”
The pressure will be building significantly if Sunderland take nothing from Hillsborough in midweek, Johnson has been known for up and down streaks as a manager but he cannot afford that on Wearside with the supporters desperate to get out of the third tier this season.
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An obvious takeaway from the battering at the New York Stadium was that the Black Cats have to be better at defending crosses. Four of the five goals came from balls swung in and a Rotherham man getting first contact.
Whether that means Frederik Alves or Bailey Wright should be thrown in at centre back remains to be seen. However, one thing that is for sure is that Darren Moore would have identified this and his physical striker Callum Paterson will be chomping at the bit to get on the scoresheet.
All is not lost, Sunderland are just one point off of the top two with a game in hand on every side around them but Tuesday feels massive.