Gary Rowell: The Sunderland fans are the greatest asset the club has and the full-time scenes at MK Dons were brilliant to see

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A seven game unbeaten run with three consecutive victories has completely transformed the mood on Wearside as MK Dons became the latest team to fall to a resurgent Sunderland.

Saturday’s win wasn’t as convincing as the previous two but returning home from a tricky away game with three points when not firing on all cylinders is in itself a good sign and the sort of win that managers love.

To win promotion over a long, gruelling season, you need those scrappy wins just as much as the entertaining big wins - probably even more so.

The key to that, of course, is keeping a clean sheet.

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Sunderland supporters at Stadium MK on Saturday.Sunderland supporters at Stadium MK on Saturday.
Sunderland supporters at Stadium MK on Saturday.

Don’t concede and you are always in the game, no matter how good or bad you are performing and we are seeing the benefit of that with two in a row, when at the start of the season Sunderland couldn’t buy a clean sheet.

The moment of magic that separated the two teams came from Lynden Gooch with a wonder goal and the biggest compliment I can pay him is that I wasn’t surprised given his recent form.

I am almost expecting something special from him at least once a game now.

Fitness levels and team spirit look much better, confidence and belief both on and off the pitch is flooding back resulting in the players’ body language being so much more positive than it was just a month ago and because of all this, that crucial bond between players and fans is strong again judging by the scenes at the final whistle.

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Finally, nearly 5,000 fans made the long journey to Milton Keynes in the middle of winter in a season where, at one point, Sunderland sunk to the lowest point in their history, and that is incredible support and loyalty from a fanbase that is the greatest asset this club has.