Forget Wimbledon’s win over West Ham – Sunderland must beat them convincingly

After a weekend off, Sunderland host AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and given the visitors’ current league position, I don’t think any excuses will be tolerated if Sunderland fail to win all three points.

Friday, 1st February 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 1st February 2019, 9:08 am
AFC Wimbledon's Scott Wagstaff celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game against West Ham with team-mate Kwesi Appiah (centre).

With that expectation, comes the pressure to deliver but there is enough experience in the Sunderland team to deal with that so the job they have to do is clear and not many will be too bothered how it is achieved.

Wimbledon though, despite their perilous league position, should come to Sunderland in good spirits thanks to their stunning FA Cup victory over West Ham and they will be as desperate to stay in this division as we are to get out of it.

The Wimbledon game is the start of a month that sees Sunderland play a number of teams in the bottom half, with the exception of Blackpool.

So there is a massive opportunity for them to get the points to hopefully get back in the top two.

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Nobody wins promotion in February but Sunderland can go a long way to missing out or making things far more difficult if they don’t cash in and take advantage of favourable fixtures this month.

That starts with Wimbledon on Saturday and as Sunderland haven’t scored more than one goal in any league game since before Christmas I will be extremely interested in how Jack Ross sets his team up, especially in the attacking areas.

It is a puzzle why Sunderland’s goal return over the last couple of months has been so poor, with attacking options like McGeady, Wyke and Maguire, Gooch, Watmore and the departed Maja to call on - which club in League One wouldn’t want those players in their squad? Not many.

So, whoever gets the nod from Jack Ross to start, Sunderland’s creative players have got to get back to making and especially taking chances and remember goal difference could well be an important factor when this campaign finally comes to a close.

Sunderland’s inaction at the weekend didn’t do them any favours.

Portsmouth were in FA Cup action but Luton and Barnsley both won again, with Charlton picking up a point to leave us fifth.

Sunderland have drawn their last two home league games, one against Shrewsbury that was definitely points thrown away and the other against a good Luton Town team, that was probably a fair result.

But there is only one result the fans will accept on Saturday and that is a home win and hopefully a convincing one.