FAN’S VIEW: What’s the worst that could happen at Sunderland?

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley (left) celebrates with his team-mates after Manchester United's Ryan Giggs scores and own goal during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Sunderland's Phil Bardsley (left) celebrates with his team-mates after Manchester United's Ryan Giggs scores and own goal during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
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Currently sitting 19th in the Premier League, Gus Poyet’s Sunderland side are a reformed team as of late and last weekend’s spectacular 4-1 win at Craven Cottage lifted them from the bottom of the table.

This is a revelation for the Black Cats as they have been rooted to the bottom of the table for some time now.

Whilst the parachute payments made by the Premier League to the relegated clubs may lessen the financial blow, it does take a while for the payments to become significant.

As of this season, any relegated team will receive a payment in excess of £60million over a four year period.

With this in mind, would Sunderland have to resort to player sales and wage cuts to survive? If so, who would go? Would they be capable of gaining automatic promotion at the first attempt?

So, who could face the chop? The first player that springs to mind would be Steven Fletcher. Fletcher, who joined in August 2012, finished last season as Sunderland’s top scorer with 11 goals and this was despite being hampered by injuries forcing him out for most of the campaign. Due to his fine form in front of goal, Tottenham have emerged as favourites for his signature whatever the outcome of Sunderland’s season. Other departures could see club favourites such as Larsson, Giaccherini, Westwood and Altidore leave in search of a bigger club.

It’s not just the paid transfers that would be a big loss and those on loan, such as Ki and Borini, who have been an integral part of Sunderland’s current campaign would also be sorely missed.

Two players who may face the chop.

With all of the potential departures in a bid to remain financially secure, would they have enough about them to secure promotion at the first attempt? I hope so, but then I can’t really see them being relegated. They have too much about them when they are competing with the likes of West Ham, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Norwich.

After their recent resurgence, the next three fixtures for the club, Southampton (H), Stoke (H) and Newcastle (A), are all games that they are more than capable of winning. Even the Newcastle game can be won, as we already saw earlier in the season.

•This article was written by FTBpro’s Seb Hall

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