Southampton’s visit this weekend might not be as high profile as the last home game against Newcastle, but in our position, the points are just as important.
The Saints, as usual, are comfortably in upper mid-table, with the bonus of a home quarter final Capital One Cup tie giving their fans a realistic chance of a trip to Wembley.
Southampton are the sort of club that everybody with Sunderland connections should use as an example, as there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t be at least where they are now.
Every summer they seem to lose their best players – Nathaniel Clyne, Toby Alderweireld and Morgan Schneiderlin left in the last transfer window, but Ronald Koeman and his recruitment team come up with the replacements that fit into the team seamlessly.
One of those signings, Virgil van Dijk, could have ended up at the Stadium of Light, as he was heavily linked with Sunderland throughout the summer months, before joining Southampton.
Southampton also did outstanding business with their current front three of Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane – all shrewd captures, who have increased their transfer value while at St Mary’s.
That trio have the ability to cause Sunderland big problems on Saturday.
But having got our first win of the season in the last home game, Sunderland have now got to get back to making the Stadium of Light a difficult place for opposing teams to visit.
Derbies apart, Sunderland have let themselves down for too long in front of their own fans, so a second consecutive home win would go a long way towards reversing that trend and getting us moving in the right direction.