Sunderland have found their form under Alex Neil having lost just once under the former Preston manager.
However, they do find themselves currently in 7th and at risk of missing out on a place in the playoffs having seen Sheffield Wednesday overtake them this weekend.
But, with a huge seven games ahead of them, Neil will not be letting that distract them from their overall objectives. With performances turning and Sunderland becoming a difficult side to beat, Neil will still fancy his chances of a top six push.
There are plenty of issues that need to be ironed out having seen a number of problems develop over the international break.
With that in mind, we take a look at what has been going on at the Stadium of Light this week.
Jermain Defoe retirement
Jermain Defoe announced his sudden retirement this week with the news taking many supporters by surprise.
This comes after the club worked hard to bring the former Rangers man back to the club in January and in doing so, they allowed Aiden O’Brien to leave on loan.
That has meant Defoe’s retirement has left Sunderland short in the forward areas with Ross Stewart being the only recognised striker at the club.
Ross Stewart new contract talk
The Chronicle reported earlier this week that Sunderland were ready to offer top scorer Ross Stewart a new contract.
Stewart’s good form earnt the Scotsman an international call up for Scotland and notice of his form has stretched further than his national team.
Transfer speculation has intensified of late which has subsequently led to talk about Sunderland wanting to renew Stewart’s contract and with his deal coming to an end in 2023, they will need to work fast to convince him to stay at the Stadium of Light.
Everton make stance known on Nathan Broadhead
Broadhead has enjoyed a positive season for the Black Cats when he has been fit and available. Injuries have hampered the 23-year-olds progress this season, but when he has played, he’s impressed.
Despite only making 13 appearances, the Evertonian has scored five goals. However, due to Everton’s precarious financial situation, they would be open to selling him in the summer according to reports.
With a year remaining on his contract, Sunderland could be able to negotiate a reasonable fee to bring him to Wearside permanently in the summer.