Sunderland can’t afford any more slip-ups if they’re to secure promotion to the Championship this term.
That’s the view of Mark Donnelly of the Sunderland Echo who has been weighing up the Wearsiders’ chances of going up after a difficult period for the club.
After a resurgence in 2020, Phil Parkinson’s side are currently on a run of four games without a win after a tricky run of fixtures against Fleetwood Town, Coventry City, Gillingham and Bristol Rovers.
That run of form has seen Sunderland drop out of the top six, but with just three points separating 2nd from 8th in League One, the Black Cats’ writer has said that the stakes are high going into the final few games of the season.
Speaking on The Roar by Sunderland Echo, Donnelly said: “It’s a favourable run-in compared to some other teams.
“But the Peterborough, Rotherham, Burton games are completely irrelevant if Sunderland don’t beat Shrewsbury, Accrington, Wimbledon – they’ve got to go and win those games.
“Eight games left, eight wins would probably put you in a very good place.
“Even six wins and a couple of draws would put you in a good place but there’s not any margin for error at the moment.
“It was the same last year when they were chasing the top two so it’s going to be a really intriguing end to the season.
“I think other teams will drop points – it’s that kind of league this year as no one is really running away with it.
“Coventry, to their credit, are going very quietly about their business.
“Mark Robins deserves a great deal of credit. He’s assembled a strong squad there.
“At the start of the season It was Ipswich, Sunderland, Portsmouth and maybe Peterborough, so they’ve done very well and I’d be shocked if they weren’t in the top two.
“Second place is still wide open – Rotherham are having a bit of a blip, Oxford are bang In form having dropped a few points of late, Portsmouth are chugging along and Fleetwood – say what you want about Joey Barton but they’re in the mix.
“But everyone is quite bunched together so it’s going to be a really interesting watch at the end of the season.”
Can you name every Sunderland player’s shirt number this season?
It’s certainly a tough spell that Sunderland are going through at the moment.
After such an excellent start to 2020, things have gone off the boil in recent weeks with Phil Parkinson’s side now dropping out of the top six.
There’s plenty of time for Sunderland to get themselves back on track before the end of the season, but they need to put this sticky patch behind them as soon as possible if they’re to do so.
Three points off the top two and with only goal difference keeping them out of the top six, it’s still there for the Black Cats to take but with so many teams in the mix it’s crucial that they put this poor patch behind them.