The statistics giving players and staff encouragement in Sunderland's promotion push

Jon McLaughlin is encouraged by Sunderland's form
Jon McLaughlin is encouraged by Sunderland's form
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Jon McLaughlin says Sunderland are on track for promotion, providing they maintain the form they have showed so far this season.

The Black Cats are unbeaten in seven games and have won their last five, keeping three clean sheets in a week.

They remain third in the table but are just three points behind Portsmouth with a game in hand.

McLaughlin says the numbers are looking good for the Black Cats and says he hopes squad depth could prove to be vital of the winter months.

"You do look at the league table, there's no getting away from that, it's only natural to look at that and want to be at the top," he said.

"But we also know that on statistics, our form, throughout the whole season points wise, you look at the averages for that, for goals scored, conceded, all that, we're on track.

"We have to believe that if we keep doing what we can then others will falter, at the moment there are four or five sides managing to keep that momentum.

"You have to believe that if you keep doing your work, it's a long season, you've seen in the past that the bigger teams, Sheffield United, Bolton, Wigan, Blackburn, they can carry it through a full season.

"That's what you have to do and we know that we have the squad over the winter months when the season gets into the real yards, we've got the squad that can keep us ticking over."

Manager Jack Ross spoke in recent weeks of his 'promotion tracker' at the Academy of Light, highlighting how Blackburn Rovers navigated their way to promotion from the third tier last season.

And he said that some statistical analysis after the win at Doncaster provided some very encouraging results.

He said: "We broke the season down into seven game blocks after Doncaster and the improvement in the second set of seven games is remarkable in terms of not conceding as many, not conceding as many from set pieces or the opening goal or in the first 15 minutes.

“That has been a real sea change and because we have got better at that we are winning games. Our ability to create and score won’t ever be in doubt as the season goes on.”

Sunderland travel to Plymouth next weekend looking to make it eight games unbeaten.

Plymouth have struggled for form this season but looked to have turned a corner, winning their last two games.