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Sunderland jet to New York today - Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, or trip of folly?

They're off today. They'll board a jet plane and they won't be back again - for a few days at least. In the wake of a dismal defeat, Sunderland's decision to continue with their plan to visit to New York has not gone down well in some quarters. But, with five or six wins needed from the final fourteen games of the season, is it now a case of let's try something/anything and hope it works?

Unseasonably Chilly Temperatures And High Winds Gust Across New York City Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sunderland have today jetted off for their team-bonding break in New York.

David Moyes and his men will spend a few days in the States, with jeers and displeasure ringing in their ears following Saturday's four-goal demolition at the hands of Southampton - but will the streets of the Big Apple make them feel brand new or is there nothing anyone can do?

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League
Southampton players celebrating their win in front of a Stadium of Light deserted at the final whistle by the home fans.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The trip itself raised a few eyebrows even before the Saints debacle. New York suffered a sub-zero chill over the weekend, but the forecast for the coming days looks perfect for a little winter sightseeing and Central Park training, set as it is for sunshine and temperatures hovering around seven degrees Celsius.

Indeed the weather is set to be similar on Wearside this week, as most of us go about our day jobs still reeling from another disaster at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League
Sunderland fans wrapped up against the cold on Saturday, the good mood soon evaporated inside the Stadium of Light.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Since the quadruple-whammy on Saturday there has been a growing disquiet as to whether the Sunderland players should really be seen to be enjoying a 'jolly' after their abject showing on the pitch.

Indeed, Sam Allardyce and his Crystal Palace employers cancelled their planned warm-weather training trip to Dubai after suffering the same scoreline at the hands of Sunderland a little over a week ago - not that the abandonment raised a reaction amongst the Eagles' players. Big Sam suffered his sixth defeat in eight games at the weekend and his side remain level on points at the bottom of the table with the New York jet-set amongst David Moyes' men.

Which side of the fence you sit on probably depends on how you view trips like these. Some will view them dispassionately as team-bonding efforts, perhaps a little relaxation time for players under pressure, training in a different environment and a few days away from the glare of supporter and media disdain. Others will view them as 'reward' for failure and sending out the wrong message from a club which continually asks supporters to recognise it as skint whilst lashing out cash on a transatlantic trip.

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Reaction has certainly been mixed in some quarters but such fixture-breaks are hardly unusual. Sam Allardyce took his Sunderland squad to Dubai last year where they set up base near Norwich and Stoke City. That excursion did Big Sam's side little harm, losing as they did only two of the twelve remaining fixtures of last season. Not that it always pays dividends. Newcastle went to La Manga at the same time in February 2016, with Steve McClaren hailing the experience as a positive one, only to see his side fail to win any of their next six fixtures once they returned.

Saturday's opponents Southampton are off to Spain this week, though they have three points in the bag thanks to Sunderland's generosity and a trip to Wembley to prepare for. Middlesbrough are in the Costa Blanca as are Leicester, though Swansea will remain in South Wales with boss Paul Clement saying he is happy for the players to spend some time with their families and train 'at home'.

One thing is certain, the PR and social media person that Sunderland will have taken with them will be on a hiding to nothing trying to put a positive spin on the stories they relay back from the Big Apple this week.

Let's hear it for New York? Let's hope so, because David Moyes needs some big results once his squad return.

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