Sunderland legend: There is nothing like fierce competition to banish any complacency and keep players hungry

After weeks and weeks of bad news, cup exits, frustration and poor league results making all the headlines on Wearside, there has been a dramatic turn around lately thanks to a six-game unbeaten run and back-to-back home wins.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 4:45 pm

Everything isn’t suddenly 100 per cent right again, but at last we are heading in the right direction with some momentum behind us and hopefully the team can continue making headlines that are far more positive now than they were just a few weeks ago.

It was a depressing and difficult period for everybody leading up to that desperate Boxing Day display against Bolton but all that criticism and pressure will return if this current good spell turns out to be another false dawn.

Any player that signs for Sunderland in the third tier must know they will be put on a pedestal and worshipped if they are successful or will be criticised if they are not.

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Sunderland will look to further strengthen this month.

It is as simple as that and it is a fair deal because its promotion or bust this season and anyone not up for it can leave this month.

For those that do fancy the challenge and judging by recent performances they all look like they do, then automatic promotion is back on - we are not too far away which brings us to Saturday’s game at MK Dons.

Sunderland must go there with one thing in mind, three points, I am not saying it will be easy because it won’t, the Dons have improved lately and got a good point at high-flying Coventry on Saturday but they are still in a relegation scrap so Sunderland must be ruthless.

The best teams all have a ruthless streak, they don’t care about being popular or nice, they just need to win and don’t care how they do it and I want Sunderland to have that attitude and mentality in every game.

Sunderland seem to be growing into their three at the back system with full backs pushing on, it is getting results now so I don’t see any reason why Phil Parkinson would change it or tinker with team selection at Stadium MK on Saturday.

He does have Kyle Lafferty available now but a place on the bench looks most likely and I hope more new signings are brought in because even though things are going well now, it is a long season and there is nothing like fierce competition to banish any complacency, keeping players focused and hungry to hang on to the shirt.