Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has suggested the Black Cats have the momentum to secure automatic promotion from League One, but admitted that could change if something happens to Charlie Wyke or Aiden McGeady.
Lee johnson’s side have enjoyed an excellent run of form in League One of late, with the Black Cats picking up an impressive six wins in their last seven matches. While their confidence was also further boosted by them picking up this season’s Papa John’s Trophy after a win against Tranmere Rovers on Sunday at Wembley.
A lot of their recent form has been down to the form of Wyke in front of goal with the 28-year-old now on 21 league goals for the campaign after netting in their last three matches in the league (Sofascore). While McGeady has also been in excellent form and has provided 11 assists for the Black Cats in the league this term and he also got the assist for Lyden Gooch’s winner against Tranmere.
Speaking to Football FanCast, Phillips suggested that the Black Cats do have the quality in their squad with the likes of Wyke, McGeady and Dion Sanderson to make it into the top two. However, he did suggest that were the two influential attackers to be injured at some stage or lose some form it could impact their chances.
He said: “I think they’re hitting form at the right time. My only concern is if they were to lose Charlie [Wyke] or if he was to go off the boil, or if they were to lose [Aiden] McGeady, the two players that have been so influential in this run.
“I think defensively they’re looking fairly solid, Dion Sanderson, whose come in, has looked really strong. From what I’ve seen, they’re capable of finishing in the top-two.”
You have to feel that Phillips is right here about the Black Cats’ promotion prospects. This perhaps seems like their best chance to secure a top finish since they were relegated to the third tier. They have not been in the right sort of form to secure automatic promotion during the run-in in the last two campaigns and did not have enough quality in front of goal.
Wyke and McGeady have certainly changed that and the pair are amongst the best performers in the league at the moment. However, as Phillips warns if either of them get injured for a period it would mean that Johnson will be forced to have to tweak things and that could lose their momentum.
The win in the Papa John’s Trophy will have shown them that they can achieve success this term and you sense that it should give them a real boost in confidence to go all the way in the promotion battle.