Ha’Way Back When: How the history books suggest Sunderland will cope with the promotion pressure
Sunderland WILL be able to handle the pressure of a promotion push – according to the history books.
With the League One promotion race set to go down to the wire, questions are being asked of whether the sides in contention can handle the pressure with 13 games remaining.
And when such queries are levied at Jack Ross’ side, they can point to the history books which make happy reading when it comes to securing promotion.
We’ve taken a look over the last eight campaigns where the Black Cats have been pushing for promotion to see how they fared in their final 13 games of the league season.
Here’s how previous Sunderland sides have handled the pressure, providing some much-needed motivation for Ross’ current squad:
The Black Cats sat fifth in the Championship with 13 games to play, but a fine end to the season ensured they would return to the top flight as champions.
Sunderland won ten, drew two and lost just one of their season run-in, showing they could handle the pressure as they lifted the league trophy and secured a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
The Wearsiders had enjoyed a similarly strong end to the season just two years prior, where they also claimed top spot in the second tier despite having been sat third with just 13 games to play.
A fine run of form which yielded 11 wins, one draw and a solitary defeat propelled Sunderland into the automatic promotion places as they again enjoyed a fine end to the campaign.
Another season in which Sunderland enjoyed a stunning run-in, which propelled them from seventh to third and a spot in the play-offs.
While Mick McCarthy’s side may have lost four times in their final 13 outings, they managed to claim seven victories which ensured they would be in with a shout in the end of season lottery – although they did lose in the play-offs.
While this campaign didn’t see a surge up the table, Sunderland manage to handle the pressure and cling onto top spot.
Indeed, Peter Reid’s troops went unbeaten through their final 13 games – winning 11 and drawing just two - to win the second tier title at a canter.
This was one of few seasons were Sunderland slipped up late on, falling from second to third after a difficult end to the campaign.
They did manage to win seven times during their run-in, but suffered defeat on four occasions – meaning they slipped into a play-off place.
Draws proved Sunderland’s undoing during this campaign, with five stalemates in their final 13 games seeing the Black Cats slide down the second division.
They started the run-in in second position but, despite seven wins, they finished the campaign in fifth and were then at the mercy of the play-offs.
Sunderland were outsiders for promotion during this season, but a strong end to the campaign saw them climb up to sixth and secure a play-off place.
Eight wins and a draw propelled the Black Cats up from 8th in another example of how they managed to deal with the pressure surrounding a promotion race.
This season is perhaps the perfect example for Ross to follow, given that this was the last time Sunderland were in the third tier.
They entered the final 13 games in second place, but eight wins and just two defeats during the run-in saw them claim top spot and seal promotion back to the second division.
Ross must now be hoping current side handle the pressure in a similar manner – starting with the visit of Plymouth Argyle this weekend.