David Huntley: Sunderland fans keeping the faith – and they have reasons to be positive

Sunderland's Adam Johnson celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the game with team-mate Sunderland's Ricardo Alvarez (top) during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the game with team-mate Sunderland's Ricardo Alvarez (top) during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
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As every Sunderland supporter knows, it’s never a good idea to get your hopes up after a good run.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a consistent strike force and this season has shown that through Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher.

6ft 2in-tall Wickham should not be shying out of tackles as much as he has been and Fletcher, while showing some spark is like a China doll who also hasn’t shown us much lately.

Neither of them have really been doing what they are paid to do - score goals.

here are plenty of other players in the squad who are equally to blame for our poor run but after Saturdays win against Burnley and an impressive win against Fulham on Tuesday in the Cup, is this the turning point for the Black Cats?

I think it’s easy to be cynical about the team, especially after initially going 1-0 down on Tuesday and having one of the worst goal scoring records in the Premiership so far but Sunderland are a team that can battle and show good resolve under pressure.

We’ve seen it all before too, last season we weren’t too far off in the league to where we are now but we managed to stay up in a comfortable position after kicking into gear.

This year though, instead of finishing in a comfortable, but lower end of the table, we can play to end the season in the top half if we play like we did against Burnley and Fulham.

Obviously, it’s easy to say that and it’s very rarely the case as every team plays differently, but Jermaine Defoe has clearly added something to the team since his arrival.

His debut goal for us against Burnley was surely the first in a long line and he is looking to make a mark on the Premiership, he wants to prove to himself and to the doubters he’s still a top flight striker.

He’s looking for an England spot and this is his chance to show that with plenty of goals.

With a decent run of games coming up it’s our time to get some much needed points and with Defoe wanting to go down in SAFC history, our next league meeting with Swansea will show whether or not the Burnley game was a one off.

Even though he didn’t score against Fulham, he put himself about brilliantly and showed that he’s more of a dangerous player than Fletcher and a lot more experienced that Wickham. Every supporter will be urging him to to the business from now on.

Gus Poyet has made some formation and squad decisions that have tested the fans patience this season but he clearly wants to change the tide.

The amount he bought Defoe for shows he was desperate for goals and a change in direction for the team, it’s all about money these days, even more so than before and of you want goals, you’ve got to spend.

It’s not pretty but that’s the way the sport is now. Long gone are the days when players were on an average wage and would have a pint before and after the game with the fans.

It’s taken time for Poyet to get the squad the way he wants and, although he may not be entirely satisfied with his lot at the minute, he is on the right lines with new tactics and changes we’ve seen recently.

Patrick Van Aanholt has came back from injury and really made a mark in the squad.

Against Burnley he changed the whole dynamic of the defence and wasn’t afraid to push forward, against Fulham on Tuesday his cross resulted in an own goal from Fulham’s Bettinelli and brought us back into game.

He’s a player with an abundance of confidence and he has the talent to back it up.

The same can be said for Alvarez, his debut goal was well deserved after a game in which he performed excellently and has finally shown an impact in the team since joining the club.

It’s sometimes quite rare for high hopes on Wearside but there is never a lack of faith from the fans, 4,000 at Fulham alone goes to show that.

We can get on a good run with the next few games starting with Swansea, which will be tough, and we are still in the FA Cup after all.

If a win at Swansea comes off then there’s no reason why we can’t continue our good run while climbing up the table and finish the season in a good place, the end of which is quite a while away yet and every supporter knows it’s never that easy.

• This article was sent into the Echo by a reader for our new Black Cats eight-page supplement titled, The Roar! - which will be in the paper every Wednesday. To get involved, send your articles by email to nep.sport@jpress.co.uk or find us on Facebook and on Twitter. We’ll put them online and the best ones will be published in the paper.