Fan blog: Clean sheets key as impressive Sunderland look to build on away form at Barnsley

Sunderland head to Barnsley on Saturday.
Sunderland head to Barnsley on Saturday.
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Whichever way you look at it, it's been a good start to the season for Sunderland.

From having no manager and a threadbare squad a matter of weeks ago, the arrival of Simon Grayson has transformed the Black Cats' fortunes.

And pleasingly, he seems to have figured out how to get his side playing away from home.

Sunderland won only three games on the road in the Premier League last season, and the same number the year before.

That had to be addressed and the last fortnight has shown promise that Grayson may well have got the side equipped to pick up points away from the Stadium of Light.

The draw at Sheffield Wednesday was a perfect example - on the ropes for much of the game, the Black Cats showed a resilience that hasn't been seen on Wearside for many years.

It was that which helped to secure a point, despite being second best for large parts.

Similarly at Norwich, the hosts had the majority of possession but were put to the sword by a clinical Sunderland who prospered on the counter attack.

If performances such as those at Hillsborough and Carrow Road can be repeated, then more away points will surely follow.

What now should be the aim for Sunderland is improving their defensive record.

While these away performances have been impressive, the side have conceded in each one and securing more clean sheets must now be high on Grayson's agenda.

The trip to Barnsley this weekend will prove another tough test.

But if the Wearsiders can combine the resilience they displayed at Hillsborough, the clinical finishing shown in Norwich and an added touch of defensive stability, then they should be well on track for another successful away day.

* Fancy writing a Sunderland AFC blog? Simply email 300 words on an SAFC topic of your choice to richard.mennear@jpress.co.uk and we'll publish the best.