The League One campaign is brutal, with games coming thick and fast, and cup games that are wedged in between them ending up being more of an inconvenience, than anything.
And with a relentless fixture list, there usually comes injury issues - and my god, we’ve been hit with some injuries this season.
News of Aidan McGeady’s injury - which is likely to see him miss three months of the season - is frustrating, despite his relatively average campaign so far, due mainly to what we know he can do on his day.
We’ve seen him to it on many occasions in a Sunderland shirt, and his presence will no doubt be missed around the rest of the squad both on and off the pitch.
He will come good again once he returns from the treatment table - I’m sure of it.
Following the win at Cambridge, news broke that Luke O’Nien was to be out for a minimum of three months, and a possible maximum of nine months - another massive blow.
As a versatile player, Lee Johnson was trying to figure out where Luke’s best position was. His performances as a full back showed more promise than the occasions he played in midfield, and given the problems we’ve had in the fullback department (more of that to come) his lengthy spell on the treatment table will hurt our squad in more ways than one.
Niall Huggins and Dennis Cirkin were both signed in the summer to bolster the full back department, which looked incredibly weak going into the new season.
Both showed early doors that they were very good signings, and you can tell even just from a glimpse that they’re lads whose talents were honed the academies of top Premier League clubs.
Typically for Sunderland, however, they have both suffered bad injuries and are set for months out of the side.
They were both signed as Denver Hume’s contract saga rumbled on in the background - eventually he signed, but Hume has had his own injury issues, and at the end of October it was confirmed that he’ll be out for at least two months himself.
The bad luck has just kept coming in the injury department for Sunderland, and even with our squad numbers, we’re beginning to look very thin on the ground.
Midfielders have already been slotted in at full back this season, with Winchester, Gooch and Neil being three of the most recent players tasked with playing out of position.
What is a relief is that in these instances, it doesn’t feel like a case of square pegs in round holes.
All three have stepped up to that position, and two of them - Gooch and O’Nien - seem to look better than in their ‘natural’ positions.
Squad depth is important, and the lead-up to Christmas combined with the busy festive schedule means that our depth is going to be pushed to the limit.
A full complement of players is a dream all football managers long for, but until we have these players back, particularly the three full-backs, the challenge is going to be seeing how well we can continue to grind out results.