Kristjaan Speakman delivers this verdict on Sunderland's season so far and his first year at the club

Kristjaan Speakman says Sunderland are in a ‘really good’ spot as they move into the second half of the League One campaign.

By Phil Smith
Saturday, 8th January 2022, 6:00 am

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The Black Cats currently sit second in the table, though Wigan Athletic have the advantage in terms of points-per-game.

Sunderland’s Sporting Director is nevertheless pleased with the progress of the side, who are tracking just above the two points-per-game marker that is usually enough to secure automatic promotion.

Crucially he believes the club is making progress in implementing the new playing philosophy and pivoting to a sustainable ownership model.

Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman

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The Black Cats are back in League One action on Saturday afternoon, when they face a stern test against Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers.

Currently four points behind Lee Johnson’s side, it’s a game with immediate and clear implications for the top-two race.

“Statistically we're in a really good spot if you look at previous seasons,” Speakman said.

“There are always anomalies and at the minute there are a number of teams at the top of League One that are performing as well.

“We're trying to make sure we're the best version of ourselves possible, and we know what the expectations of us are both internally and externally.

“If you look at the mixture at the minute, of trying to run a responsible, sustainable football club, making the right acquisitions, look at the football philosophy and the age profile of our team, we're heading in the right direction.

“From that perspective, we're delighted.

“Would we rather be ten points clear at the top? Of course, but it is a very competitive environment and we love that competition.

“We're going to give it everything we've got to get over the line come May.”

Speakman also reflected on his first year in charge at the club, saying that he feels ‘really settled in the area’.

The Sporting Director had revealed earlier this week that two key appointments behind the scenes meant that all heads of departments are now in place, with teams set to be built out further in the months ahead.

Speakman says that more modernisation in the off-field operation can be expected through the new year.

"First of all I feel really settled, and that is really important when you've got your family etc,” Speakman said.

“I've been made to feel really welcome in the area and that's really helped.

“Looking at the football I think we've made good progress, though as a perfectionist I'm always thinking about things I feel I could have done better.

“I'm constantly reflecting and trying to ensure we improve.

“There is a lot of work to do moving forward. We're going to be disciplined and focused in how we do it, we'll make every decision in the best interests of the club.

“We've done a lot of work on the football side of the business, I think in 2022 you'll see more modernisation in terms of how we run the off-field, business side with Steve Davison.

“At the minute, all the way through the business, we feel we're making some important strides forward.”

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