Phil Parkinson has this message for his Sunderland players as they face up to crucial Wycombe Wanderers test

Phil Parkinson has urged his Sunderland players to build on their growing momentum when Wycombe Wanderers visit the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Saturday, 11th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 11th January 2020, 6:00 am

Gareth Ainsworth’s side sit top of the table, nine points ahead of the Black Cats, after a remarkable start to their League One campaign.

Their form has dipped of late, however, with just one point from their last four fixtures.

Some encouraging Black Cats performances have raised hopes that they have turned a corner after their own wretched run of form, with a 3-4-3 system offering a regular threat.

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Phil Parkinson at Wycombe during his first match in charge of Sunderland

“We know how Wycombe are going to play,” he said.

“I'd imagine they're going to slow the game down and try and disrupt the flow, we've got to be ready for that challenge.

“It might well be a different type of game to the Lincoln game, not quite as free-flowing. We've got to make the pitch big when we've got the ball, move it quickly, press with the same intensity that we showed over the Christmas period.

“We've also got to be ready for the set play situations and the balls into [Adebayo] Akinfenwa if he plays.

“We've had time to work on [our system] a lot and the movement is getting better.

“Key to any system is that at home, teams are going to sit deep and make life difficult.

“We've got to have movement and fluidity in the team, that's one of the things we've been stressing to the players, showing them the clips of when we’ve done that well, how difficult that is for the opposition.”

Wycombe’s poor form has been mirrored by Ipswich Town, who are without a win in eight.

That has opened the table up considerably and Parkinson is confident that momentum is growing.

“There's no team at the moment running away with it,” he said.

“A month or two it looked like the teams at the top could take an unassailable lead but that hasn't happened.

“It's all to play for, I feel there's momentum in the group, the lads are putting so much in, I'm pleased with how we're progressing, though we’ve got a lot of work to do with the group and the ones we get in.”