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Bitterly disappointing night compounds Sunderland’s woes - where do we go from here?

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The whole season has been underwhelming, and unless somehow things change rapidly, this side will be nowhere near competing for promotion.

Gillingham v Sunderland: FA Cup First Round Replay Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

At the beginning of the night many fans noted that the outcome of Sunderland’s FA Cup first round replay against Gillingham wasn’t of huge concern. However, after a sixth defeat in nine games, even the most patient Sunderland supporters are beginning to worry as their team show no signs of improvement under our new boss.

Phil Parkinson named a relatively strong starting lineup with a host of first team players given a chance to show their worth. Unfortunately, not one of them emerged from last night’s game with any credit to their name.

Had Parkinson named a youthful side and given some of our academy players a chance to run out and have a go at Gillingham, fans might have been happy enough to have lost in a competition that at present is considered little more than a distraction.

Yet, the fact that a team full of experienced pros crumbled to defeat against an equally poor Gillingham side means fans will view last night’s loss as another sign that things are steadily worsening.

Gillingham v Sunderland: FA Cup First Round Replay Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The opposition managed to have the lion’s share of possession last night. And, despite changing things up in terms of our tactical approach, Parkinson’s men couldn’t summon the ingenuity to really challenge Gillingham’s defence.

The Lads didn’t even muster a single shot on target and were generally outplayed by Gillingham across the pitch.

It’s just not good enough.

On paper, Sunderland’s team should have theoretically had the skill, experience, and nous to defeat the side we played last night. But something just isn’t right at the club, and that’s showing itself in our displays and results.

Players, manager, backroom staff, owners? As fans we simply don’t know where the issues lies, but on the pitch it’s clear to see that this side just isn’t good enough right now.

Gillingham v Sunderland: FA Cup First Round Replay Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The whole season has been underwhelming, and unless somehow things change rapidly, this side will be nowhere near competing for promotion.

Parkinson will likely be given a chance to prove his worth during the January window, and also has the chance to bring in a new coach to help him reinvigorate this stuttering side after John Potter followed Jack Ross to Edinburgh.

But at present the new boss is on eggshells. Both he and his side need to show people that they mean business, that they can complete the basic requirements of a side said to be challenging for promotion.

There needs to be a flicker of hope for the fans to hold onto, and fast.