Lynden Gooch lifts the lid on the mood inside the Sunderland dressing room after stunning run of form

It was a moment of creativity not often associated with League One centre backs.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 10:00 am

With Sunderland 3-0 up against Rochdale, Tom Flanagan stepped forward to receive possession before executing a stunning Cruyff-turn to get away from his man.

It was a moment that only served to emphasise the new-found belief flowing through the side after their remarkable run of form – which has seen this lose just once in their last twelve outings.

What, then, has Phil Parkinson done to inspire such confidence?

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Sunderland attacker Lynden Gooch

“It's just his system and the consistency of the team selection,” said Lynden Gooch, one of the main beneficiaries of Parkinson’s new-look system.

"We all know our roles and we have a lot of chemistry at the moment.”

With confidence flowing after back-to-back victories over Ipswich Town and Rochdale, Gooch believes spirits are high ahead of a big game against Oxford United on Saturday.

The Black Cats are yet to beat the U’s since their relegation to League One, and the American is predicting another cagey clash when the pair lock horns at the Kassam Stadium.

"After Saturday we couldn't wait to get back out there,” he added.

"It will be the same as we get ready to go again on Saturday.

“It's another big game. They're fighting for the play-off places as well.

"They want to go up, like us, and had a very good run in the FA Cup as well. They've been doing well.

"I'm sure it will be a tough game.”

Sunderland, though, will take confidence from a similarly tricky clash against Ipswich Town, where patience proved key as they netted a late winner.

A similar performance may be required in Oxfordshire, and the 24-year-old is confident that his side can deliver what is required.

"Ipswich was probably more pleasing considering who it was against,” admitted Gooch.

“We have to grind it out to get wins like that sometimes, but we just kept going and kept going.

"We kept creating chances and we didn't drop our heads when we hit the woodwork.

"We just kept going and eventually got our goal."