It’s funny how quickly things can change in football.
A few weeks ago Lee Johnson was celebrating his side’s seventh win in their last nine League One games – a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Crewe – with the full backing of the Sunderland fanbase and now he heads into Saturday’s FA Cup game against Mansfield with pressure on him.
Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday was a concerning one for Black Cats fans in more ways than one.
Not only did Johnson’s side look fragile at the back and toothless upfront but the defeat was their third in a row in League One meaning they look to be caught in the grip of yet another losing run – something that often plagues sides managed by the coach some refer to as ‘Streaky Johnson’.
There were supporters calling for the 40-year-old coach to be sacked after the defeat at Hillsborough and those voices will grow louder if the League One side’s poor form continues.
But the truth of the matter is that unless Sunderland slide out of play-off contention completely, it’s hard to see Johnson getting his marching orders.
There’s a long, long way to go in the League One campaign yet and Blackpool can vouch for the fact that things are usually decided in the new year.
Sure, the Black Cats’ recent displays have been concerning but it wasn’t long ago that they were flying high at the top of the table.
It would be a shock not to see Johnson given a fair bit of time to right the ship and some financial backing in January to help him do so.
Have each of these 24 ex-Sunderland academy players ever played in the Premier League?
For the time being, that remains the right decision. Things may get worse before they get better but the North East club have invested in his way and he needs their continued backing if he is to succeed.
No one will be more determined to do see that happen than Johnson. He was Bristol City’s nearly man and there will be no better way to change that reputation than getting Sunderland back to the Championship.