Gary Rowell: If Sunderland don’t go up this season they could be stuck in the third tier for years

Sunderland’s first game under Phil Parkinson didn’t get off to the start anybody wanted at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, in fact it was as if nothing had changed.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 1:23 pm

Every box we didn’t want to tick we did; no clean sheet again, which worryingly is just becoming the norm, no goals again from a shot-shy attack, and a team performance riddled with errors and anxiety, unconvincing is about as kind as you could label it.

Phil Parkinson has joined a club under increasing pressure to satisfy a frustrated fanbase that means rightly or wrongly he is under immediate pressure but if he wins games he will be hero worshipped by that same fanbase.

In Sunderland’s position, there are no grey areas now for the manager, lose games and criticism will follow, win them and he will receive more praise than he could ever imagine.

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Conor McLaughlin in action for Sunderland.

Despite all Sunderland’s current problems though, nobody should give up, Wycombe Wanderers away was always going to be tough and I thought before the game started even a draw would be something to build on but we couldn’t manage it and probably didn’t deserve it.

Phil Parkinson knows the size of the task now, he signed a two-and-a-half year contract but he hasn’t got two years to do the job, he has seven months.

When Sunderland got relegated to League One most fans, while wanting promotion at the first attempt, were prepared for a second year but no more and just because there is a new boss that hasn’t changed - if Sunderland don’t go up this time, we could be mired in the third tier for years.

If all this sounds depressing, it is probably because it is, but the one thing in our favour is there is so much of the season left but the players must make sure that defeat at Wycombe is the lowest they go and put a winning run together because any team that does that in this league won’t be far off.