Charlie Methven highlights what proved 'very costly' for Sunderland's automatic ambitions ahead of play-off drama

Sunderland executive director Charlie Methven pictured with owner Stewart Donald.
Sunderland executive director Charlie Methven pictured with owner Stewart Donald.
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Charlie Methven admits the high number of draws has proved 'very costly' after Sunderland's automatic promotion hopes were ended and says the whole club must now dust itself down and gear up for the challenge of the play-offs.

Sunderland were among the favourites for automatic promotion but missed out on a top two spot, with Jack Ross' side now facing the lottery of the play-offs once the final game of the season away at Southend United this evening is out the way.

Sunderland have only been beaten four times but 19 draws has led to the Black Cats missing out on an automatic spot to Luton Town and Barnsley, both locked on 91 points ahead of the final day.

Methven, Sunderland AFC's executive director, told TalkSport's Jim White show: "We are going to be up for the play-offs. We are currently just gathering ourselves to make sure we are ready.

"We were disappointed not to go up automatically having been in the mix all season. We've just had a sticky patch at a crucial stage in the season where we've been really unlucky with hitting the woodwork a lot, and keepers having blinders against us and things like that.

"As a result, what should have been 12 points has only been five.

"The whole club has just got to dust itself down and pick itself up for the challenge which is the play-offs.

"Everyone knows it is the best way to go up in terms of excitement, but you cannot guarantee anything in the play-offs.

"The fans have got a bit cumbersome because we've not won as many as we should have recently.

"But what a way to go up it would be. After the cup final defeat at Wembley it would be perfect. The second series of the Netflix documentary would certainly get the perfect ending.

"We can't think about Wembley again just yet though. We have to get through the semi finals first and if we can, and we can go up at Wembley, it would be an immense day for the club and everyone involved with it."

Reflecting on the season as a whole, Methven added: "Draws have been very costly.

"We've had 19 of them and if we'd have just won six of them, lost six of them and drew the rest, which would be a bit more normal form, we would be champions.

"The draws have come of different circumstances in the season, with some coming after we were in winning positions and some we've come from behind.

"But, when push comes to shove, we have not been quite decisive enough at either end of the pitch."