Jack Baldwin lifts lid on dealing with promotion pressure and how Sunderland proved they are no soft touch
The Sunderland squad is thriving on the pressure of being favourites to land the League One title - and Jack Baldwin believes they will take some stopping if they can maintain their winning run.
Sunderland make the 806-mile round-trip to Plymouth on Saturday looking to extend their four-game winning run.
Jack Ross’ side, third in League One, are three points off leaders Portsmouth with a game in hand and given their superior goal difference could go top this weekend if Pompey and Peterborough United drop points.
Confidence is sky high within the Sunderland camp having dispatched Southend United 3-0 last time out, the defence celebrating another clean sheet.
Baldwin said: “We’re looked at as one of the favourites - if not the favourite in this league - so the question is there week in, week out and we’ve got a group of boys that thrive on that.
“Winning games is a habit and we like to think we’re getting into a winning habit.
“Once those wheels get turning it’s hard to stop so it’s good that things are coming together defensively.
“Back-to-back clean sheets add a real solidity to our squad and it’s a great platform and foundation for us. Winning games week in, week out is what we play football for.
“You don’t want to lose every week so we’ll enjoy it but at the same time we’ll get our heads down and prepare for the next one.
“It’s lucky we’ve still got some good players who still get called up by their countries because the majority of League One teams get no international breaks and they’re just churning out games.
“Some of the boys have had to adjust to this league and the way it pans out - the physicality and the quality as well.
“It’s good lads know what it’s about now and they’re ready to kick on,” added the summer signing from Posh.
Baldwin has made 16 appearances, scoring the winner in the 2-1 win at Bradford City, the game that sparked the four-game winning streak, five if you include the Checkatrade Trophy victory over Carlisle United.
Sunderland have since beaten Shrewsbury Town, Doncaster Rovers and Southend United, keeping clean sheets in their last three games.
Momentum is fully behind the Black Cats and the 25-year-old ex-Posh skipper says Sunderland have also proved they are no soft touch.
“Teams may have seen us come down and thought we’d try and strut our stuff in League One but we’ve shown we can dig in and play the ugly way, it’s not all pretty football.
“At times we’ve had to dig in and defend for our lives, and as defenders that’s what we love doing, putting our bodies on the line.
“I think that will instil some fear into other teams now that, ‘Actually, they mean business.’ That’s what we’re here to do.
“I think we’ve shown we can do both sides of the game.
“To win leagues and get promoted you’re going to have to go away from home and win ugly, win at all costs really.
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. We’d like to think that back on our home turf not many teams are going to take many points away from us.
“It’s brilliant that we’ve had three back-to-back away wins and it’s a great platform to build on.”
Sunderland, aiming to make it four straight away wins, will be backed by another sold-out following, with 1,435 in the away end at Home Park.
After this weekend’s round of fixtures there is a break from League One with Sunderland again on the road when they travel to Port Vale in the first round of the FA Cup on Sunday, November 11.
Baldwin & Co will hope to go into that game on the back of a fifth-straight League One win.