The Black Cats’ return to the second tier has been a long time coming, and there were some very bright periods in the club’s opening weekend 1-1 draw against Coventry City.
The capture of Daniel Ballard from Arsenal on a long term contract was a statement of intent this summer and many are expecting the Black Cats to comfortably stabilise in the second tier.
Alex Neil won promotion via the play-offs in the division with Norwich City and came close to breaking into the top six with Preston North End, that will be an aim on Wearside in the medium to long term, but can the Scotsman’s expertise accelerate the club’s progression?
When asked if Sunderland have an outside chance of competing for the play-offs, Carlton Palmer said: “Well you never know.
“As you step up now, there is a gulf between League One and the Championship, as there is between the Championship and the Premier League.
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“I would think that Alex Neil would be looking for consolidation in the Championship this season, I don’t think they’ll be looking that far up the league, just making sure that they don’t get involved in a relegation battle or they go down.
“The momentum is with them, they played very well towards the end of the season last season, you never know, but for me I would think that Alex is looking to cement their place in the Championship, and then build on it in the coming seasons.”