Have Sunderland made a pig's ear of promotion? Here's what Big Bob the Psychic Pig had to say last August

Sunderland fans could be forgiven for thinking their team have made a pig's ear of promotion after Tuesday's dramatic late defeat at Fleetwood Town.

With Luton Town and Barnsley hogging the limelight after securing automatic promotion, Black Cats manager Jack Ross now has to lift his side in time for the impending League One play-offs.

Big Bob proves he's not scared of tackling the play offs.

Big Bob proves he's not scared of tackling the play offs.

Sunderland's record in the end-of-season showdowns, however, is snout to shout about.

Indeed, on the field - remembering that they were promoted in 1990 because of victorious Swindon Town's financial misdemeanours - they have lost four play-off campaigns on the trot.

Yet the red and white army should not despair just yet.

For Big Bob the Sunderland Psychic Pig predicted that Ross's men would triumph in the play offs way back in August.

Flashback to when Big Bob predicted promotion for Sunderland via the play offs last August.

Flashback to when Big Bob predicted promotion for Sunderland via the play offs last August.

Faced with four food bowls marked "champions", "promotion", "play offs" and "mid-table" - needless to say the labels were hidden from his view so he couldn't read them - the Maori pet pig plumped first for the "play offs".

Then, displaying a predatory instinct Sunderland striker Will Grigg - or should that be Will Pig? - would be proud of, he quickly switched his attentions to the sow rolls in the "promotion" container.

Still not convinced? Big Bob, a popular attraction in recent years at Down at the Farm fun farm, near Houghton, has a record which is hard to scoff at.

In similar fashion last summer he prophesied four out of six outcomes correctly for England's World Cup matches.

As well as forecasting the Three Loins' victories over Tunisia, Panama and Sweden plus their first Belgium defeat, his hesitation before the Colombia last-16 tie was seen as a sign that the match would eventually go to penalties.

Big Bob's owner Will Weightman, who is a Sunderland fan and runs the farm with wife Catherine, said: “It's a shame we haven't managed to secure promotion automatically.

"But we've got to have faith in Bob given his record for getting football predictions right in the past.

"I just hope he isn't telling porkies this time."

Twelve-year-old Big Bob, now recovering from a winter stroke, was chosen for his roll - sorry, role - because he is usually the first animal on the farm to sense when it is meal time.

Sunderland fans will be sow pleased if his formidable record continues.

Down at the Farm, in Stoneygate Lane, off the A690, is open from 10am-5pm at weekends and on bank holiday Mondays.