Former Sunderland player Kieron Brady has suggested that Sunderland are going to face a really difficult task to secure automatic promotion to the Championship, following their defeat at Coventry City last time out.
The Black Cats had been on a real positive run of form in the league, with Parkinson’s side winning four of their five matches ahead of their trip to Coventry, but they were unable to continue that form against Coventry, as they couldn’t get back into the game, after going 1-0 behind inside the opening two minutes.
That defeat leaves the Black Cats six points adrift of Coventry, who also have a game in hand, while they are also four points adrift of second placed Rotherham United, who they play on the final day of the season – and that means that Parkinson’s side will need to put together a really consistent run to secure automatic promotion.
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Speaking on BBC Newcastle’s Sunderland AFC podcast, Brady suggested that the Black Cats are likely to find it a real challenge to go on and secure a top two finish, and that it could prove to be too much of a challenge for them catch the teams above them in the table.
He said: “Given that there’s only 10 games left and given that if Coventry win the game in hand, they will have a nine-point advantage over Sunderland, I think it’s unrealistic at this moment to expect Sunderland to surpass Coventry.
“So, to that end, it may well be that your fighting for that second automatic promotion position.
“I think Portsmouth, Peterborough and Rotherham would be the difficulties and I think they’ve got the strength and depth and they’ve got form at present.”
He also suggested their game at Rotherham on the final day of the campaign could prove be decisive, saying: “You would either want Rotherham to have secured an automatic position already, hopefully at the expense of Coventry because that would mean there there’s still one available.
“But I would suggest that as a very strong likelihood that there’ll be a lot riding on that game for both sides.”
You can certainly understand where Brady is coming from here, with the Black Cats now facing a really difficult task to catch the top two in League One following their defeat at promotion rivals Coventry last weekend, and they will need to bounce back straight away.
Considering the consistency of some of the teams above them in the table, it is going to take an incredible run of form for Parkinson’s side to finish in one of the two automatic promotion places, but the Black Cats have shown they have enough in their squad to potentially go on such a run.
Parkinson’s side have managed to really get their season back on track since the turn of the year, putting together a run of form to get themselves back in the mix for promotion, but sustaining that form was always going to prove a difficult task.
Sunderland will now be needing to prove that their defeat at Coventry was just a blip, and get themselves back to winning ways – and they will be hoping to keep themselves in the hunt until the final day where they could potentially have the chance to overtake their opponents Rotherham.