Gary Rowell: Sunderland job only half done

Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
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WE got a great result at the weekend with the win at Bolton and I wouldn’t seek to diminish that in any way.

But unless we go on to capitalise on it with a victory over Aston Villa this Saturday, I’ll see the job as only half done.

The story of this season so far has been a story of one step forward, two steps back.

A good result at Liverpool followed by bad one against Newcastle and Brighton; a great one against Stoke City followed by our worst performance of the season against Norwich City.

And we’ve really got to look to get back-to-back wins for the first time this season this Saturday if we’re going to feel the benefit of the Bolton win – especially with the trip to wounded Manchester United at Old Trafford on the horizon after that.

I’m very much conscious of the fact that our best performance of the season was followed by our worst, so there can be no room for complacency this weekend if a Stoke/Norwich scenario is to be avoided.

Having home advantage should be a help, plus the fact that this game is a bit more spicey than most given Darren Bent’s return, so there should be a good atmosphere.

But the challenge for Steve Bruce’s players is to ensure that they hit the same level of performance again that they produced in the second half at Bolton.

It’s vital, because we all know that the way to shoot up this league is to get back-to-back wins.

It does wonders for morale but just as importantly six points out of six can do wonders for your league position too.

The Bolton win was great but if we can add an Aston Villa win to it, we’ll really start to feel we’re getting our season back on course.

READ the full column in Tuesday’s Echo