Sunderland may have to sack Phil Parkinson in order to secure promotion, according to Stephen Elliott.
After two failed attempts at returning to the Championship pressure is at fever pitch around Wearside as supporters urge their club to finally escape the third tier.
Unfortunately things this term aren’t going as smoothly as many would hope.
Defeat against MK Dons on Saturday saw the Black Cats drop out of League One’s play-off positions, leading to criticism aimed at Parkinson.
Patience is often ignored when criticising a manager’s performance, and according to former Sunderland forward Elliott, the focus for the club has to be on making the decisions that will get them promoted this season.
Writing for the Sunderland Echo, Elliott said: “When I watch this Sunderland team play at the moment, the body language of the players is noticeable.
“It suggests to me they don’t look totally happy with the way the games are panning out.
“While this squad is not full of world beaters, it is one of the strongest squads in the division and frankly these players should be performing at a much higher level than they are.
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“Defeats to Mansfield, Fleetwood Town, and now MK Dons, all in the same week is not acceptable.
“The manager needs to find a way to change these results quickly.
“If he doesn’t manage it sooner rather than later, then the club can’t wait around for him to do so. Sunderland must get promoted this year.
“Failure is surely not an option again.”
The pressure is certainly building on Phil Parkinson.
Sunderland have been in League One for too long and so for a club of their size it’s crucial that they escape the third tier and return to the Championship.
Whether replacing Parkinson is what is needed remains to be seen, but as far as supporters are concerned it seems that a fresh face could be just what is needed.