It’s not been the season that many Sunderland supporters would have first hoped for this term, especially after coming off the back of a Play-Off Final defeat to Charlton Athletic in last year’s campaign.
The Black Cats now have Phil Parkinson in charge after the dismissal of Jack Ross earlier this season, and the former Bolton boss will be hoping to lead his side back into the Championship.
In our latest FLW Six Pointer, we take a look at Sunderland’s start to the season in more detail.
What has their league form been like so far this season?
“The Black Cats currently sit eighth in the League One table after 14 games.
“They’ve been inconsistent in their performances on the pitch, and their results emphasise that which will be frustrating to see for the Sunderland supporters.
“They’re already eight points adrift of league-leaders Ipswich Town, and Phil Parkinson will know that he has to turn their poor run of results around as soon as possible.”
Did they make the right call in sacking Jack Ross?
“I think they made the right decision in sacking Ross if I’m being honest.
“He took them to the Play-Off Final last season, but given that they ultimately fell short in achieving promotion, the expectation was always going to be to start this year’s campaign strongly.
“Sunderland didn’t do that, and that ultimately cost Ross his job at the Stadium of Light.
“It was a bold call, but it was the correct one in my eyes.”
Is Phil Parkinson the right person to take Sunderland forward?
“He certainly deserved a chance at a club with the stature that Sunderland have.
“Parkinson really impressed me under difficult circumstances at Bolton, and I feel as though he is the right person to take them forward and challenging for promotion back into the Championship.
“He just needs to given time to implement his style and ideas to the current crop of players, and it’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll be given a chance to make the necessary additions to the Sunderland squad in January.”
Are there any players who aren’t performing consistently enough?
“Will Grigg is the main player that hasn’t been good enough in front of goal for Sunderland.
“The former Wigan striker arrived last season with a proven scoring record in League One in particular, but for one reason or another, he hasn’t hit the heights that were originally expected of him.
“He needs to step up and improve, or he’ll find himself well down the pecking order in Parkinson’s plans.”
Is their defeat to Oxford United in the Carabao Cup a blessing in disguise?
“This will be a blessing in disguise.
“Even though a cup run would have been nice to have, there main aim this season would have been to win promotion into the Championship.
“The cup run would have distracted from that, and given the lack of strength in depth that Sunderland have in their squad at the moment, they would have struggled to stay in touch with the promotion-chasing sides in League One.”
Finally, can you see Sunderland winning promotion this season?
“I think they’ve got as good of a chance as their promotion rivals.
“Sunderland have some players in their squad that arguably could be playing at a higher level than League One, so there will be a weight of expectation for Parkinson to win promotion in his first season in charge at the Stadium of Light.
“The likes of Aiden McGeady and Grant Leadbitter have played higher up the English football ladder in the past, and I think their experience will come in handy in their push for promotion.
“I think they’ll have enough quality to go one better than last season and win promotion to the Championship this term.”