Mediocrity will never be accepted as under-performing Sunderland slump to new low in a season of new lows

There is little festive cheer on Wearside.

Sunday, 15th December 2019, 5:00 pm

‘Tis the season to be jolly...’

Not so if you’re a Sunderland fan.

Blackpool and the returning Simon Grayson the visitors to the Stadium of Light, you know how the script goes.

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Sunderland battle for a point at home to Blackpool.

Within four minutes, Sunderland fall behind.

Matty Virtue with a sublime strike, helped no end by the comical defending. On at least three occasions Sunderland's nervy defence had the chance to clear effectively.

They failed to do so and fell behind. Superb finish. The fans inside the stadium restless.

To their credit, however, they did not turn on the players. And they could have done given the dross served up in recent weeks. Instead they backed them.

The Sunderland players responded and after a poor start grew into the game and got the equaliser they deserved through Charlie Wyke’s smart finish.

Sunderland at least showed some character. What they continue to lack, however, is a convincing plan going forward, with little creativity and efforts on target and not enough bodies or crosses into the box.

The chronic goalscoring problems continue to haunt. A lot of focus is now being placed on the January transfer window.

The return of Wyke is a positive, he can divide opinion but at least he offers something different and does chip in with goals.

But there is no masking how gut-wrenchingly dismal this campaign has been.

Sunderland continue to sink to new lows each week.

This week’s low? Dropping a place to 12th.

The club’s lowest league position in over 30 years, equalling the club’s lowest-ever league placing.

How did it reach this point?

This team currently shows no sign whatsoever that they are capable of winning promotion this season.

The automatic places are now a distant dream. No chance is that happening. The play-offs are, however, still in reach.

Remarkable really given Sunderland’s form under Phil Parkinson, with just two wins from 13 in all competitions.

It shows how poor the quality is in League One that Sunderland’s form has been so dire - no win in eight in all competitions - that they can still be only four points from the play-offs.

The club is in crisis. But all hope is not yet lost. Yet picking up a point at home to Blackpool, regardless of whether they had ten men or not, is not a good result.

And it can’t be seen as a satisfactory result.

Sunderland’s ambitions need to be far higher. The fans demand it. And rightly so.

To see Sunderland 12th in the third tier is shocking. Surely the only way is up? Mediocrity will not be accepted by the fanbase. Standards and results must see a sharp improvement.

But the question is, is this squad and manager capable? A huge improvement is needed to convince fans they are.