Chris Coleman has this message for Sunderland supporters amid talk of fan protests

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.
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Chris Coleman says he completely understands fan frustration amid talk of protests but says the club needs supporters behind them now more than ever.

The Black Cats boss was asked for his reaction to mounting talk of fan protests at future Sunderland home games, with fan frustrations mounting after another season of struggle following relegation from the Premier League.

Owner Ellis Short, now based in the US, is at the centre of fan frustration, with fans unhappy that just £1.25million has been spent on new players in the past two transfer windows, with the club again battling relegation.

Short is trying to sell the club, which has debts of £110million, but as yet no suitable buyer has been found.

Coleman continues to have the backing of supporters with the fan anger aimed at the club's owner with Sunderland in very real danger of back-to-back relegations to League One.

"I completely understand the frustration of the supporters, who wouldn't," said Coleman ahead of the trip to Bristol City on Saturday.

"All I will say from me to them, if we have ever needed them more than we do know I'd hate to see the situation we were in before.

"We absolutely need them. I know they are angry, they have every right to be. We have never needed them more than we do now. Simple as that.

"We take a big following away from home. At home the stadium may be half empty but there are still 20,000-odd thousand people coming.

"We don't get away from where we are without their support. I understand their frustration, I totally get it, we need them right now with us.

"If we can find a little foothold and stop the slide and start going forward if it can happen, it is possible. It is only two points.

"It is not easy but it is doable but only if we are all together. I get the frustration, I do.

"They have had hard times for a long time but we absolutely need them now, more than we have ever needed them."

Sunderland are second bottom in the Championship, two points adrift of safety with just 16 league games left.