Sunderland are a work in progress but they can’t keep wasting opportunities

Sunderland slipped up against Fleetwood.
Sunderland slipped up against Fleetwood.
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After beating AFC Wimbledon a couple of weeks ago, Sunderland were second in the table with two hame games coming up.

It gave them a great opportunity of establishing themselves firmly in an automatic promotion position.

In typical Sunderland fashion, however, they missed out on that opportunity, drawing both games, and dropping four precious points in the process.

After the Fleetwood draw on Saturday, the good news at least is those points haven’t been too damaging as we’re still in fourth spot, not too far away, but what could have been an exceptional start to the season has to be viewed now as just a promising one.

Drawing two home games doesn’t by any means suggest that everything is going to go wrong, but it is a worrying trend that must be reversed. As is the fact that we have conceded first in four games, even though we’ve not lost any of them.

Going behind early so often is a puzzle, and Jack Ross admitted he talked to the players about it.

Conceding soft goals from corners certainly doesn’t help. Sunderland are clearly still a work in progress and I’ve absolutely no doubts that the team will improve, especially when the likes of Jerome Sinclair, Charlie Wyke, Dylan McGeouch and Tom Flanagan gain full match fitness, Max Power returns from suspension and further down the line, there’s Aiden McGeady and Duncan Watmore still to come back into the team. They are two players who could set this division alike with their talent.

Before the Fleetwood game Joey Barton claimed his players, man for man, were better than Sunderland’s, something that should have been great motivation in the dressing room, but the way Sunderland played for much of the first half, it looked like they were trying to prove Barton right.

Thankfully we got better as the game went on and could have easily won it at the end, cruelly hitting the woodwork twice, and Jack Baldwin somehow missing from three yards.

Fleetwood though had a great opportunity of their own, with a penalty to go back into the lead, so things could have been a lot worse for Sunderland.