For the first time in a very long time, there’s a bit of optimism kicking about the place.
The takeover is done and dusted, ushering in a new dawn, fans might be back in the stadiums in some capacity shortly, and Sunderland winning games. It’s all coming together nicely, isn’t it? There seems to be a glimmer of light at the end of what’s been an extremely long tunnel.
It’s important that we keep it going though. For me, every game from this point ramps up in pressure and importance, and it’s critical our players recognise this.
I feel that we’re coming together at the right time. With injured players that are potentially coming back into the fray, and some outside players staking a claim, it now offers us a proper chance to utilise our squad. Yes we are having a few knocks along the way but we’re starting to see a sense of togetherness in the squad that was never there under Parkinson.
Rochdale are the visitors today and I think the 2-2 draw there earlier in the season was one of the low-points of the campaign so far. We were sloppy, couldn’t hold onto our lead and it was just an all-round poor performance. Luckily, we’ve improved since then, so hopefully they come up against a differerent Sunderland.
Although as ever with Sunderland, it’s important to get a sense of perspective. This all counts for nothing if we don’t keep things going and put the pressure on those teams above us. Yes, the games are coming thick and fast but that can be a good thing as well. It may be tiring on the legs of the players, but it seems like the confidence and momentum is picking up.
Who can forget last time we went up under Roy Keane in 2006/07? We were mid-table in the Championship at Christmas and suddenly - as we have recently - started putting a few results together. One win became two... three, and then we were flying. It carried us all the way until promotion was sealed in the penultimate weekend of the season. While the performances were often gritty and we had to battle, the momentum and run we went on was a key aspect of us getting over the line.
While I’m not saying we’re gunna surge to the top of the table, I do think we’re in a better position now to start looking upwards, and other sides won’t fancy playing against a confident Sunderland team that’s firing on all cylinders.
Lets hope that the game against Rochdale today is another stepping stone on that charge.