Point gained or two dropped? January transfer priority clear after Sunderland's point at Fleetwood Town

Point gained or two dropped?

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 5:00 pm

Signs of improvement or further evidence this Sunderland side is incapable of winning enough matches to win promotion?

There was plenty for Phil Parkinson to ponder on the bus journey home from Fleetwood.

Could they build on the impressive showing against Doncaster Rovers?

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Sunderland midfielder George Dobson in action against Fleetwood Town.

In order to win promotion, producing performances like that every week is key. Consistency is key. The League One table remains tightly congested.

Sunderland are 13th, ‘only’ four points off the play-off spots with two games in hand on some teams.

A winning run would propel Sunderland into the promotion mix despite all the uncertainty surrounding the future of the club with Stewart Donald looking to sell, the vast majority of fans wanting Phil Parkinson out and question marks over how much will be spent this window with the squad in desperate need of an injection of quality.

Sunderland started slowly at Fleetwood. Charlie Wyke conceding a penalty, Ched Evans netting from the spot.

It was a big setback and took them a while to get going again but they did slowly start to dominate proceedings.

Chris Maguire should have scored. Luke O’Nien should have scored. Wyke’s header hit the woodwork.

But it wasn’t all one-way traffic, far from it. Fleetwood had three excellent openings too, Sunderland failing to deal with the threat of Danny Andrew from corner routines, Jon McLaughlin called into action on a couple of occasions with smart saves.

The Black Cats fully deserved a point, all three? Not sure the Fleetwood fans would agree.

Sunderland extended their unbeaten run to four games, three of those draws though and two of those 1-1 draws.

Imagine the stick Jack Ross would be getting playing wing-backs and drawing games 1-1.

There was a quick chant of ‘We want Parky out’ from a small group but it quickly turned into a wider ‘Sunderland’ chant as the Black Cats pushed for an equaliser.

The 1,000-strong away end fully behind the team, following on from the superb support at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Parkinson has kept faith with a core of players recently, playing a system they are now familiar with, the levels of effort and work rate impressive.

However, the quality and end product has been severely lacking and there is a great deal of work to do in January to turn this team into a potentially promotion winning one.

So far, the festive season has been steady, if unspectacular.

A desperate goalless draw at home to Bolton followed by an excellent win at Doncaster and a point at Fleetwood.

Beat Lincoln City and it would turn into a good spell with eight points from 12, some momentum slowly building and something to build on.

But that all depends on beating Lincoln because if they don’t then the pressure will crank up again and the chants calling for Parkinson’s head will grow ever louder.