I’ve had another good month, featuring only one defeat away at Wycombe Wanderers, and we are closing in on automatic promotion.
The month ended in especially good fashion as we scored four goals in both games – winning 4-2 and 4-1 against Fleetwood and then Burton Albion.
Leaving March behind and going into the final full month of the season we are in a very strong position. We’re top of the league by one point ahead of Barnsley – who we have to be wary of considering their superior goal difference – and five points clear of third placed Charlton Athletic.
Going into April, the plan is to try and confirm promotion as soon as possible, then to concentrate on securing the title. This is definitely possible, since we only face one of the top six in our remaining six games.
Off the field, Adam Matthews signed a contract extension, although a right back will remain on my summer shopping list as I seek to move Luke O’Nien back into midfield going into next season.
My first piece of silverware has been won and you better believe I’m telling everyone I know!
This came about in a tight encounter at Wembley where I faced a Luton side who haven’t quite performed to a similar level as they have in real life. Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch were the heroes on the day, although the Hatters did pull one back late on.
In the league I enjoyed a solid month, but a 1-0 loss away to Barnsley halted my progress towards promotion, but only temporarily I hope. I managed to win the rest of the games in less than emphatic fashion, however, my points total is building nicely as we come to the business end of the season.
I’ve got a game in hand against both Barnsley and Oxford who sit three and five points ahead of my Sunderland side respectively. Crucially though, my goal difference is far superior to that of Barnsley so it’s all in my hands.
With seven games to go, don’t be surprised if I finish first, but also don’t be surprised if I miss out on the play offs.
Off the field, Adam Matthews has had just about enough of being behind Tom Flanagan in the pecking order and George Honeyman has been struggling to get into the team. A few cameo appearances from the bench towards the end of the month have certainly helped his cause in getting back into the starting eleven.
Top of the league… unbeaten at home… lowest amount of goals conceded… the lads are in pole position with six games to go to deliver the League One title!
Under my leadership Sunderland may have scored less goals than Bristol Rovers, who sit 15th in the table, but due to our brilliant defensive record conceding just 36 goals in 40 games, we sit 4 points clear of rivals Portsmouth.
Once again Charlie Wyke proved to be the catalyst to our good form, scoring his 22nd league goal in a 3-1 home win against Burton Albion. The forward, who is really struggling for goals under Jack Ross, has been pivotal this campaign with Josh Maja and Duncan Watmore being the only other players to break into double figures.
Since returning from a loan spell at Grimsby, Elliot Embleton has occupied a regular spot in midfield alongside Lee Cattermole. The 19-year-old scored his first goal for the lads in a 1-0 win away at Wycombe, keeping his place ahead of the likes of Teddy Bishop and Dylan McGeouch.
The highlight match of the month proved to be a 3-2 home win against Walsall, which I found myself 2-0 down after eleven minutes. Josh Maja scored a 90th minute winner to complete the comeback that prevented yet another draw.
Although the board are delighted with the work I am doing at Sunderland, they have expressed their frustration at the fact I have completely used my transfer and wage budget. Although it was a gamble which has proved to be effective, it could become problematic next season should the board not want to invest further.
Next month, I want to clinch promotion and win the League One title. Sunderland play Portsmouth at home in what will be the fixture which I imagine will decide who takes the trophy home, let’s win it!