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Sunderland Back on Track in League One Promotion Race

Following a frustrating week, Sunderland are back on track in the League One promotion race after two wins from two games.
League One Promotion Race

Following a difficult week for the Black Cats, Sunderland have bounced back in the League One promotion race.

Fans saw their team defeated at home to Portsmouth and an uninspiring draw at Rochdale, But, two wins out of two have seen their League One promotion hopes get back on track.

The promotion race in League One is as tough as it has ever been this season. Five points currently separate the top seven with several other clubs hoping to join in the race in the coming months.

Sunderland Back on Track as League One Promotion Race Gathers Pace

Two Wins Follow a Frustrating Week

Following a good start to the season which saw the Sunderland defence unbeatable, Portsmouth travelled to the Stadium of Light and left with three points. Not only that but the rock-solid defence which had previously not conceded in open play, looked fragile as Pompey scored three.

The Black Cats travelled to Rochdale with many believing that the game would be ideal to put the Portsmouth defeat behind them. An uninspiring performance saw Phil Parkinson’s men lead twice but concede soon after. Sunderland’s rock-solid defence now looked very vulnerable.

Following the two games, Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson was confident his front players had the quality but his defenders must do better:

“Prior to the Portsmouth game we were doing so well, we’d only conceded one goal all season, but there was an undercurrent of ‘we’ve got to score, we’ve got to score’.

“I absolutely 100 percent believe that we’ve got goals in the team. People said we should get this player or that player, but we have good front players.

“We just have to make sure we give them a defensive platform so that when they do score goals, it is to win games of football.”

Back on Track

The disappointing week ended with a victory over Gillingham. However, Sunderland were made to work hard for their victory and can count themselves lucky. Gillingham had the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot but missed their chance. Soon after the home side were down to 10 men. This gave the Black Cats their chance. A penalty from Chris Maguire and a late Lynden Gooch strike sealed the victory. It was not convincing but the win was what was important.

Promotion Rivals Defeated

Fellow promotion chasers Ipswich Town travelled to the Stadium of Light hoping to emulate Portsmouth and return home with the three points. Charlie Wyke continued his hot streak in front of goal scoring the opener early in the first half. However, the game saw chances few and far between until Ipswich equalised before the break.

A late Grant Leadbitter penalty sealed a vital win over their promotion rivals. The win, however unconvincing, saw the Black Cats move to within a point of second place and four behind current leaders Peterborough United. Sunderland also have a game in hand over the leaders.

Positives Are There for Fans in League One Promotion Race

Sunderland fans are understandably frustrated to still be in League One. This is their third consecutive season in England’s third tier; however, there are positives that this season could be successful.

Phil Parkinson’s men still have one of the best defensive records in the division and have lost just once in their opening 10 games.  Should their form so far this season continue, a challenge for automatic promotion is a real possibility.

One area which still causes concern for the Sunderland boss and their fans is goals. Charlie Wyke is in the best scoring form of his Sunderland career; however, the other strikers at Parkinson’s disposal have yet to score and on current form look unlikely to trouble opposition keepers. Will Grigg and Danny Graham are proven at this level but must begin to contribute.

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