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The Sunderland boys are back!

After a shorter World Cup break than most, the Lads in red and white are back in action this Saturday - and I couldn’t be happier!

Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Saturday is almost here and for the first time in three weeks, the lads are in action. In reality, it doesn’t feel like it’s been three weeks since we last played - the 2-1 win at Birmingham and the thunderous winner from Amad are still fresh in the memory.

We’ve had a lot of World Cup games since that Friday night in the West Midlands - England have scored 9 goals in three games and booked their place in the last 16.

It’s been great watching the action, particularly on those days when there would be pretty much back-to-back football.

Yet despite all of this, the best kind of football is back on Saturday afternoon.

Sunderland returning to Championship action is great. Having a home game in front of the Sky cameras is even better.

Birmingham City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

The lead up to the World Cup break was, on the whole, very positive for Sunderland. We got to grips with our new division, made ourselves hard to beat in lots of games, and picked up seven wins - five of which, weirdly, were on the road.

Our 15th position is respectable, it would be for any team following four years of false dawns in League One.

What makes it more rewarding is knowing that we’ve fought our way to this position having had lots of key players missing lots of games.

Ross Stewart is the obvious one, but when you factor in Dan Ballard, Ellis Simms, Lynden Gooch, Aje Alese and Denver Hume all experiencing long spells on the sidelines, sitting where we are is a testament to the depth and quality Tony Mowbray has at his disposal.

We had a shortened break, shorter than even most teams in the Championship.

Finishing on a win before the World Cup break was the perfect tonic to round off the opening half of the campaign. With games coming thick and fast through December and plenty of players back from injury, the return to league action can’t come soon enough.

Stoke City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - bet365 Stadium Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images

We’re a long distance from the business end of the season - we’re still to play three teams even once, never mind twice - but we’ll be at that stage before we know it.

Keeping our heads and playing football with the fearlessness we’ve shown in many matches so far this season will be key in making sure we keep on looking up rather than down at the league table, and I’m still very confident this will be the case.

This young and at times exciting squad are giving us plenty to cheer, and also a reason to fall back in love with watching our club again.

Getting back to the SoL, for those who can on Saturday, will be great.

The boys in red and white are back, and the magic carpet Championship ride will soon be underway once again.

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