The post-match debrief Sunderland hope will restore a rapid return to winning ways in League One

Lee Johnson says he is eager to repay Sunderland's fans as they return to League One action on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 6:00 am

The Black Cats have recorded two excellent Papa John's Trophy wins over the last fortnight, but Johnson has conceded that he is still reeling from the 4-0 defeat to Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Johnson says he wants his group to show the travelling support that they are back on track against Steve Evans' Gillingham.

"I am looking forward to getting back into the league because I am reeling from the Portsmouth game, to be honest with you," Johnson said.

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Sunderland boss Lee Johnson

"That pain, anger, frustration, it's still there for me.

"And I hope it's still there for the lads because although we don't want to be tense when we play, we want to make sure that we've got a memory and that we understand that we let the fans down, and that we play with a desire to reinstate their confidence in us."

Assistant head coach Jamie McAllister says Sunderland need to channel that frustration at Priestfield Stadium, and says he thinks a positive post-Portsmouth debrief will allow the team to quickly move on with a positive result.

"It's about channeling it in the right way," he said.

"We had a really good chat as a group after the game against Portsmouth. The gaffer and the coaching staff said their bit but the players had really good input as well.

"They felt how much it hurt.

"It's important that we learn from it, move on quickly, and hopefully that will show on Saturday.

"We'll focus on the process, and that will give us the opportunity to get the win."

McAllister said the group had appreciated that the Sunderland support had stuck by the group in the aftermath of the defeat, and said they are determined to prove the defeat to be a blip.

"We appreciate that," he said.

"Hopefully they can see what we're trying to do and that we're stepping forward.

"They're the core of the club and we want to put on a show for them, and win games.

"It's up to us now to show that was right, that it was a blip. We'll do everything we can to prove that."

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