Gary Rowell: Sunderland making progress

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IN the last three seasons Sunderland have finished 17th, 13th and 10th in the Premier League – progress is being made.

One look at the final league table tells you we are going in the right direction.

It doesn’t tell you though what a strange season it has been.

A 10th place finish represents pretty much the best we could have hoped for on the final day of the campaign, but possibly the least we would have settled for at the end of the first half of the season, when we’d occupied sixth spot in the table for a number of months.

How you view Sunderland’s season under Steve Bruce, left, overall depends entirely on whether you’re a glass half-full or glass half-empty type.

Either way it has been a crazy season.

We finished 10th, just two points away from an eighth place finish.

Or put another way – we finished 10th, just two points away from a 14th place finish.

Injuries cost us – the worst injury record in the division – and I honestly can’t see that happening again.

What we should have learned from this season is two things: 1) that on its day and at its strongest, the starting XI is strong enough to give any side a game, and 2) the squad overall is not strong enough and lacks the depth to cope with a string of serious injuries.

That’s why you would expect work to be done on strengthening the squad’s depth to ensure we can compete for a good top-half finish next season.

READ the full column in Thursday’s Echo