Danny Batth makes Sunderland squad admission and reveals dressing room verdict after Stoke test

Danny Batth admits that Sunderland’s squad is low on numbers but says the group’s togetherness can go a long way.

The Black Cats have taken eight points from their first five fixtures since returning to the Championship, following a 1-0 win over Batth’s former club Stoke.

Sunderland boss Alex Neil still wants to add four or five players to his squad before the end of the transfer window, while a couple of injury setbacks has led to a lack of options in certain positions.

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That provided challenges as the team faced back-to-back away games at Sheffield United and Stoke in the space of four days.

Danny Batth following Sunderland's win at Stoke. Picture by FRANK REID

“I think the message in there is it’s been a tough week for us,” admitted Batth after the win at Stoke, courtesy of Ross Stewart’s first-half finish. ”Obviously being down to ten men against Sheffield United and we’ve come here and didn’t start particularly well but we stayed in the game.

“We have obviously got two players (Stewart and Ellis Simms) that can damage teams at times so we felt that we were fortunate to go in ahead at half-time.

“What I will say about the group is that there is a real team spirit there and a togetherness.

“You see that with the lads coming off the bench, the injuries and the knocks. There were four or five lads out there carrying knocks but they are doing everything they can for the badge and the team so that’s imperative for the rest of the season.”

Sunderland’s encouraging start to the campaign may have raised expectations among some supporters, yet Batth, who has racked up over 250 appearances in the Championship, knows there will be more challenges ahead.

“I would say as a team we are realistic,” he added. “We are light on bodies and everyone knows that, there’s no getting away from that.

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“We have a lot of inexperienced players at this level and people are going to make mistakes, and people are going to get injured.

“When we lose one or two players it can affect us pretty much more than the majority of the teams in the Championship because they have got more depth.

“As a group we have to be realistic but we also have to be ambitious as well and not fazed by the new league.”

Batth, who has previously played for Stoke, Wolves and Middlesbrough in the second tier, has also been impressed at how younger members of the squad have stepped up following promotion to the Championship.

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“I think that comes down to the togetherness in the group,” he added.

“There’s a responsibility and an accountability in the group but there is also a confidence between the players and a trust, and that’s hard to find.

“I’ve played in a lot of dressing rooms and it takes time to develop that but we’ve got that here and that will be important during the season because there will be bumps in the road and there will be bad results.

“There are going to be times when we play great and we lose but as long as everyone is ready for that and we’re together we’ll keep going.”

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