At first glance, the League one table makes for depressing perusal. Sunderland and down to ninth and are now eight points behind the convincing leaders, Ipswich Town, with no games in hand.
The second glance makes it seem more respectable. We are just one point behind a top six place and have two games in hand over Blackpool in sixth with the same pathetic goal difference of +2.
This Saturday’s opponents, Wycombe Wanderers, are second and only four points ahead of SAFC having played one game more. So leave aside Ipswich’s so far exemplary sprint to the top and we remain competitive.
In a week when the best news out of Sunderland had very little to do with football, that is what sustains Monsieur Salut’s morale as he prepares for his annual grand retour to Blighty, rather unenthusiastic about reacquaintance with the ugly, snarling country it seems to have become.
Sunderland’s best news, by the way, concerned the takeover of much of Thomas Cook by John and Irene Hays, great people with superb business minds and a couple Pete Sixsmith and I are proud to call friends. Their intervention saves hundreds of shops and 2,500 jobs. The little bit to do with football is that both are fans – M Salut first met them when his season ticket was next to theirs in the East Stand – and John went on to be Niall Quinn’s very able vice chairman in the Drumaville years.
I certainly wasn’t referring to the sacking of Jack Ross as I am among those who doubt its wisdom. But in that judgement, I am challenged by those who know a lot more about football (and, indeed, the situation at our club). I await with interest news of his successor though, like Sixer, have plenty of names I wish to see nowhere near the short list. Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth is one of those names but all seems quiet on that front since the formal approach was reportedly made.
So let us concentrate on beating his team on its own territory and closing that gap from the top two places.
What will be the score? You tell us. Just for fun.
For Jack Ross, it has the look of win-win. Win and he can say: “Well, it was my players that did it.” Lose and, well, he’s no longer there to be blamed.
Ha’way the Lads.