Another big Sunderland following will be on the road this weekend for the visit to Coventry City and the Ricoh, hardly a name with the appeal to any football fan of Highfield Road but the one demanded by the Japanese sponsors of the the sports, hotel and shopping complex where it is situated.
Will the travelling support witness the sort of Sunderland display that dismissed Rochdale with some ease or the one that stuttered and stumbled at Burton? We’ll see.
Jack Ross continues to impress with a start that is at least as strong as realistically could have been expected from a team of players who barely knew one another before they were thrust together on the training pitch.
Recruitment has been mixed but includes some genuine class for this level of football and there seems no reason why further progress cannot be made ahead of the massive home game against League One leaders Peterborough next Tuesday.
Many of those travelling fans will have their own or handed-down memories of long ago, a night in 1977 when Coventry drew 2-2 at home to Bristol City, a result that kept both clubs in the old First Division at our expense.
We’d been beaten at Everton and this was the only combination of final-game matches that could relegate us. As is also well known, crowd congestion delayed the Coventry kick-off, the Sunderland score was flashed up on the scoreboard on the instructions of Jimmy Hill, then Coventry chairman. To no surprise, the score remained 2-2 for the final minutes with no one trying desperately hard for a winner.
Unforgivable gamesmanship, on a par with match-fixing? Or something any club might have done in similar circumstances? The result stood and we went down.
Our record over the years against City has been fairly even, typically winning home games and losing at their place, when not playing out draws. They won the EFL trophy in 2017, but also went down, and regained League One status last season via the playoffs.
The last taste of real glory for Coventry was in 1987 when our own Nick Pickering helped them to a 3-2 win in an exciting FA Cup Final against Spurs.
So here we have two sides that have known distinctly better days and have waited a long time for serious silverware.
Have a go at guessing the score. The first reader to get it right will win a prize mug whoever he or she supports, provided it can go to a UK postal address. Monsieur Salut’s decision shall be final.
Ha’way the Lads.