Simply put, yesterday’s draw away to Peterborough was disappointing.
In isolation, sharing the spoils away to Darren Ferguson’s play-off chasing side might not seem a particularly disheartening result. However, in a bigger context, our failure to secure maximum points leaves us on the outside looking in for the second automatic promotion spot.
In the wake of yesterday’s results, Jack Ross’ men find themselves sitting in fourth place, six points behind leaders Luton, and four points behind Barnsley in second - although we do hold a game in hand. Pompey sit just two points in front of us, level in terms of games played.
So, it’s an uphill battle with four games left to play - including one at home to Pompey - and all we can do is win and hope for the best.
'We have two choices at this stage, we can either sit and feel sorry for ourselves or pick ourselves up and go again next Saturday'— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) April 22, 2019
Watch the manager's post-match interview in full https://t.co/rD8hj9ZC2T#SAFC pic.twitter.com/exZQmiyuxs
In terms of positive thinking, it is important that we remember this side have shown character in overcoming adversity already this season.
Indifferent runs of form have been answered with gusto. A losing cup final was answered with a resounding victory. Players have emerged from the fringes when the club has needed fresh inspiration - step forward Charlie Wyke.
Jack Ross and his men have history in finding ways to reinvigorate their form, and that could well prove valuable in this final run-in.
With the pressure now firmly on Barnsley and Pompey’s shoulders, Sunderland need to regroup and secure maximum points in our remaining games.
It seems an obvious statement to make, but sulking and sympathy won’t cut it. Worst case scenario we fight it out in the play-offs and battle our way back to the Championship; either way, wins are desperately needed.
That being said, fans have a right to feel disappointed. A matter of weeks ago, the Lads held a two game advantage over those chasing second place, yet the team haven’t been able to take advantage of that position.
We’ve struggled to hold onto leads, and our second half showings in particular have been cause for concern as the Lads haven’t found success in killing teams off. Our defence has been porous, and we’ve failed to take a host of golden opportunities in front of goal. All issues that need to be resolved.
It’s been frustrating to see our side only succumb to defeat on three occasions, yet manage to draw eighteen games. And fans have a right to voice their frustrations and anxieties in a constructive manner.
However, as frustrating as this season might have been thus far, all will be forgiven if Ross’ men find a way to claw their way back into the Championship.
Last summer eyebrows were raised high as new ownership, management, and personnel filtered into the club. However, that scepticism has slowly evolved into a belief that has captured the hearts of fans thanks to a tenacious team and a transparent management structure.
If this side secure promotion, regardless of the manner in which it is achieved, fans will be delighted, and this season will be an undoubted success. Should we fail, well, that’s when the true soul-searching begins.