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Just how important is Saturday’s game? Is it a ‘must win’ for Sunderland & Phil Parkinson?

How important could winning Saturday’s game be for the way the rest of Sunderland’s season pans out? How much importance are you placing on it? Is it a ‘must win’?

Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

RR: How important could winning Saturday’s game be for the way the rest of Sunderland’s season pans out? How much importance are you placing on it? Is it a ‘must win’?

Sam says...

All eyes are firmly fixed on the Coventry game and in particular how Parkinson and the players respond from the recent, quite frankly embarrassing results and performances.

With Coventry sat in third place it would send out a statement by beating them comfortably and convincingly, however another defeat and in particular another shocking performance could see the fans turn on the players and - in particular Phil Parkinson - come full time on Saturday.

It would also be particularly sweet to get one over on Coventry after the way their fans conducted themselves at the stadium of light last season. That being said, the three points is ultimately the most important thing.

Parkinson wasn’t my first choice for the job, however like most fans I decided to get behind him and give him the benefit of the doubt. It now feels that - particularly after recent weeks - if Coventry beat us and the performance isn’t up to scratch that it will be almost impossible for him to come back from that. Having said that, I hope he proves me completely wrong, starting with a convincing win against Coventry. Ha’way the lads!

Sunderland v Southend United - Sky Bet Leauge One Photo by Steven Hadlow/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

Make no mistake, Saturday is a must-win game by any standard. Sunderland and Parkinson’s flittering start needs to end, and this weekend is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Sunderland haven’t won against any of the current top ten this season. Coventry are sat in third place, in touching distance of the top two. The Sky Blues are a side who also play to all of Sunderland’s weaknesses - they’re strong and fast, with plenty of skill and a habit of finding the back of the net. They’re no mugs.

Should Sunderland fail to win, it’s yet another mark against Parkinson’s name and one he probably can’t afford to have. The marks are mounting up. Taking into account Wycombe and Ipswich’s fixtures this coming weekend, at least one of the top two will be looking to further pull away, with a defeat or draw most likely to condemn Sunderland into battling for just one of the two automatic promotion spots available.

As for Parkinson, anything that isn’t a winning and convincing performance won’t do. As a man already on thin ice, not winning this weekend would certainly signal the beginning of the end in my eyes for a man brought in to achieve promotion, but who has so far only brought dismay to this side.

As an unpopular choice, Parkinson hasn’t had the easiest of starts, but even the most patient of fans may find an inability to win at the weekend just a little too intolerable.

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

Graham Falk says...

I often feel like these games seem huge at the time, but it’s really about putting a consistent run of results together, not just winning in one big game.

You go back to the Tranmere victory and you think “ah, brilliant, we’ve cracked it” - and then we go and get beat off Shrewsbury away from home. There’s no real point in winning on Saturday if we then follow it up with a bad result and performance against Burton on Tuesday.

It’s hugely important that we win but, if we do, it has to be a catalyst that sees us come into better form and a massive improvement in results following the game. I don’t just mean that as a team, but as a fanbase. There have been times this season when we’ve won and it seems everyone breathes a sigh of relief, then the pressure mounts immediately for the following game because we’re worried we’ll go off form again. One win is just one win, the context of the next week of games is of far more importance.

If the Lads bottle it again on Saturday it’s going to turn pretty bad, if it hasn’t already. I’m a huge advocate for getting behind the lads at every point, but big players like Chris Maguire and Aiden McGeady need to pull their fingers out and show the same sort of character that the fans do on a regular basis.

Sunderland v Gillingham - FA Cup: 1st Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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