Stephen Elliott: I'm backing Sunderland to win automatic promotion and these two players will be key
When you are in an automatic promotion race, and make no mistake that’s exactly where I think Sunderland are now, you have to find a way to pick up results when performances are below par.
Having a good quality of squad depth came up trumps at Crewe, and going forward there is no doubt Lee Johnson will have to rely on his bench to change the course of the game when things are not going quite to plan.
There seems to be real confidence in the squad and the players seem to be really enjoying playing for this manager.
Having experience of automatic promotion will be massive going forward for the team.
Having that know-how could be the difference of keeping a cool head when everyone else may be getting a bit excited.
With that in mind, it’s reassuring that Max Power has that type of experience, and I really hope Grant Leadbitter will not be missing for too long.
Grant’s presence will be invaluable to the team if they reach those automatic slots at some stage.
He is a player that has been there and done it and his calmness would no doubt rub off on those with less experience.
I’ll say it quietly, but I genuinely believe this team can go on and achieve automatic promotion.
If they do, it will go down as an outstanding achievement, it would be a great turnaround by the manager. The fact I am speaking like this tells you everything about how I feel he has done since he has come in.
He has totally changed the level of belief I have in this squad.