Sunderland AFC news: Pundit says 'mistakes are starting to creep in' on Wearside as former Black Cats boss explains contract decision

Sunderland are set to face Oxford United at the Stadium of Light in just two days time.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 11:28 am

And the Black Cats are in the hunt for the automatic promotion spots with rivals Hull City and Peterborough United still to come.

Sunderland also have two games in hand on the first placed Tigers and a game in hand over Posh in second.

Lee Johnson’s side are unbeaten in their last 12 games in all competitions and have lost just one in their last 18 fixtures.

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Simon Grayson during his Sunderland days.

But will they be able to extend that run on Good Friday?

Here, we take you through today’s talk that you may have missed:

Sam Parkin picks out Sunderland duo for criticism

Former player turned pundit Sam Parkin has criticised Sunderland’s centre back partnership after watching the Black Cats’ win against Bristol Rovers last Saturday.

“I watched quite a bit of the first half,” Parkin said to the Totally Football League Show.

"I think that a few mistakes are starting to creep into that centre half partnership, and Luke O’Nien was maybe at fault for the goal against Lincoln and in the first half [against Bristol Rovers] they were really poor here, I felt.

“They really lacked urgency. Kept the organisation, but I thought that [Jonah] Ayunga in particular, caused those two quite a number of problems, so I think yes, although they’re getting away with it.

“There have been some stellar performances from the defending players that have been shuffled around, I think Bailey Wright, for one, will probably walk straight back into that team when he’s available for the run-in.”

Simon Grayson explains Fleetwood Town commitment

Former Sunderland boss Simon Grayson has explained his reasons for taking the Fleetwood Town job permanently and what he needed to commit to the club.

“You look at many things,” Grayson told the EFL Podcast. “You look at the owner: Does he give you time to implement your own ideas?

“Has the club got good facilities? Well, both boxes were ticked straight away.

“Andy is a good football person and the training facilities are second to none.

“It’s somewhere you can hopefully establish yourself and build something, and who knows where it can end up?

“His ambition is to get into the Championship, and if I didn’t think I could do that at Fleetwood I wouldn’t have gone there myself.

“Andy and I have a lot of respect for each other.

“I’ve known him since the early 2000s, when I was Blackpool boss and Fleetwood hosted our reserves. I got to know Andy quite well and we remained in touch, hence maybe why I got the job recently.

“You sometimes go to a ground and instantly hit it off.

“You can go 18 months without speaking to somebody, then suddenly you speak to them and you have this relationship you feel comfortable with and that’s where we are.

“Whatever happens in the future won’t damage the relationship I have with Andy Pilley as it hasn’t with (his chairmen elsewhere) Peter Ridsdale, Dean Hoyle and Ken Bates... to a certain degree.”

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