Mark Donnelly has suggested that the automatic promotion places may now be out of reach for Sunderland after a disappointing few weeks.
The Sunderland Echo writer was discussing the Black Cats’ promotion credentials when he as asked about the hopes of breaking into the third-tier’s top two before the end of the campaign.
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: “As optimistic as I like to be I think that the top two may be out of reach.
“Obviously mathematically it’s not but when you look at the other teams, the form they’re in I think the top two Is a little bit too far for Sunderland.
“I think that the best you can hope for is to finish fourth, get the second leg of the play-offs at home like we did last season, that would be ideal.
“You just want to get in the top six.
“If you can get in there and get a favourable opponent – I say that, I don’t think there’s any team in the mix where you’d rather face them.
“There’s no one that I’d fancy playing, you’d be worried about everyone.
“I think if they can take six wins, get in the play-offs and see where that takes them.”
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.