Ex-Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott believes Lee Johnson’s men can go unbeaten at the Stadium of Light for the entire season and believes they will claim promotion if they do so, writing in his column for the Sunderland Echo.
Lee Johnson’s men have made a very bright start to the campaign, winning six of their opening eight league games of the 2021/22 campaign and losing just one, putting them in second place with only goal difference separating the Wearside club and leaders Wigan Athletic.
Their home form has been a big reason why they are in the position they’re currently in, winning all five of their League One matches at the Stadium of Light this season, scoring nine goals and conceding just three.
Have Sunderland ever been involved in any of these 18 scenarios?
There were concerns over whether the Black Cats would be able to compete for a promotion after a slow start to the summer transfer window, but late additions and some of their existing players stepping up to the plate including Ross Stewart has allowed them to steal a march on many of their promotion rivals including Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town who have endured mixed starts to say the least.
Although all three and others will be expected to push for a place in the Championship, none will be more desperate to get back to there than Lee Johnson’s side who will be hoping to secure their second-tier return at the fourth time of asking, after losing out to Lincoln City in the play-off semi-finals last term.
Love the EFL? Want to share your opinions about your club? Get involved by subscribing to FLW TV on Youtube HERE!
Ahead of their home tie against Michael Duff’s Cheltenham Town tonight, former Black Cat Stephen Elliott, who played for the club between 2004 and 2007, made a bold Stadium of Light prediction in his column for the Sunderland Echo this morning.
He said: “I genuinely believe there is a good chance that Sunderland could go the full season without losing a home game.
“Okay, maybe it’s a big ask but if I was part of the squad I would be hammering home – excuse the pun – that it’s possible.
“If they do manage this feat then I feel promotion will be achieved.”
This is a bold, bold statement, an especially big verdict to make with a game coming up at the Stadium of Light tonight.
However, you can see where Elliott is coming from. The Stadium of Light is an intimidating place to come and though many teams will have already been there in recent seasons, none are more used to the atmosphere than the Black Cats’ players and confidence will only grow more if they can record another win tonight.
There is a fine line between confidence and over-confidence though. Johnson’s men can’t expect to just turn up and win. Tweaks will need to be made throughout the season to retain their unpredictability and if they can do that, there’s no reason why they can’t go unbeaten in their remaining games.
They may have managed to get Wigan Athletic out of the way on the opening day, but Sunderland still have to face many of the big guns on Wearside so you wouldn’t bet your house on them retaining their record.
Draws will also prove to be a killer even if they retain their unbeaten run, so turning closely-fought games into wins will be crucial to their promotion chances and they will also need to perform well on the road to secure their place in the top two.