Gary Rowell: Sunderland need to beat Tranmere Rovers to avoid Phil Parkinson having the shortest honeymoon period ever
Sunderland play their first home game for over three weeks tonight against Tranmere Rovers with a new managerial team desperate for a win to get this new era up and running.
The fans too are desperate for a win, they know anything but three points tonight will be devastating so as always the pressure of expectation will be hovering over the Stadium of Light and if the players do not deliver Phil Parkinson could have the shortest honeymoon period ever.
Sunderland have a favourable run of fixtures coming up, starting tonight, all of them should be viewed as winnable so a substantial points haul is there for the taking and if the players are ruthless enough, to make those victories happen, will start moving in the right direction and not before time.
I hope that Phil Parkinson gets a good Wearside reception tonight, it is obvious he wasn’t the majority of fans’ first choice but he has been given the job and has a proven track record of promotions in the lower leagues, which doesn’t guarantee anything I know, but doesn’t guarantee he will fail.
Saying all that, Will Grigg has a proven record in this league and we are still waiting for him to fire so hopefully they will both go hand in hand, Parkinson leads Sunderland to promotion by getting 20 goals out of Grigg - a dream maybe but stranger things happen all the time.
Our whole season could be shaped by these next three winnable league games and if Sunderland don’t get nine points it must be seen as failure.
That might seem a high bar but all the top successful teams aim high, they never settle or compromise and it is about time Sunderland AFC football club learned how to do that - no more settling for mediocrity, we are all sick and tired of that.
So Tranmere Rovers will come to Wearside tonight determined to spoil the party, they will be well aware it is Phil Parkinson’s first home game and that the Sunderland players have a confidence problem so they will be making the appropriate plans to exploit that.
Tranmere won their last away game at Coventry so that should serve as a warning that this game is no gimme but one that Sunderland can’t afford to fail in or we’ll be moving nearer to the bottom half of League One than the top and that is frightening.