Gary Rowell: Sorting out Sunderland’s dismal home record has to be a priority for Simon Grayson

Simon Grayson.
Simon Grayson.

So much has gone wrong for Sunderland since Sam Allardyce’s departure, but I can’t think of anything that has damaged Sunderland as much as their home form - which has resulted in not a single win this calendar year.

It is now 12 league games since Sunderland last tasted victory at the Stadium of Light - a 1-0 win over Watford last December - and if you count a goalless draw with Burnley in the FA Cup who then knocked us out in the replay and a humiliating defeat to Celtic in pre season then it gets even worse.

Ha'way Back When in association with John Hogg Funeral Directors

Ha'way Back When in association with John Hogg Funeral Directors

At least on the road we have won three times in the league and a couple in the cup in that period, not great but better than at home.

Getting to the bottom of this shocking run of home form has got to be one of Simon Grayson’s main priorities as unless it is turned round, what chance do we have of mounting a realistic push for a play-off place?

There is always more expectation to win your home games, so has it become a mental problem for Grayson to sort out?

There has also always been players who prefer playing away from home where the pressure isn’t so great and you are not under the microscope as much.

Playing in front of your own fans should be a huge advantage but if you are out of form and not strong mentally, that weight of expectation can be too much for some.

The bravest players are not the ones who throw their bodies into challenges, as admirable as those sort of players are.

The bravest ones are those who have just given the ball away when 1-0 down with the crowd vocally critical but still want the ball again to make something happen and are willing to take that responsibility, that takes guts and you can’t have enough of that type.

In any sport the higher you go, you usually find the top ones are not always the most gifted but they never lack attitude, strength of character and mental toughness.

Sunderland’s home form has been so bad for so long it has driven away thousands of fans who we need back and winning a few home games would be a start.