Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sunderland Must Aim for Higher Bar to Gain Promotion; ROSS RIGHTLY EXPECTS A LOT FROM HIS TEAM THIS SEASON

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sunderland Must Aim for Higher Bar to Gain Promotion; ROSS RIGHTLY EXPECTS A LOT FROM HIS TEAM THIS SEASON

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES HUNTER Sunderland writer james.hunter@reachplc.com @JHUNTERCHRON

"WE are still in an OK position but the question is where do we want to go? Do we accept that as being OK and we're happy with it? "Certainly not from my point of view, that's not why I came to the club."

With Sunderland sitting in fourth place in the table, having started the season on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run, and having just lost their first league game of the season, Jack Ross' summary of his side's start in the wake of last weekend's defeat at Burton Albion was revealing.

It can be boiled down to 'good, but not good enough.'.

It was the reaction of a manager who knows winning promotion from League One is going to be anything but a cakewalk.

And he is right about that. Because while Sunderland have made a promising start to the season - particularly in light of all the changes on Wearside this summer, with the club under new ownership, a new manager in place in the shape of Ross, and a huge turnover of playing staff - there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Anyone who has seen Sunderland this season knows they have yet to hit top gear, with the exception of their first-half performance against Scunthorpe United.

But they have picked up results regardless, winning four and drawing three of their first seven games before coming unstuck against the Brewers.

Yet even that record - the club's best start for 20 years - puts them behind the curve as far as Ross' points-per-game target for promotion is concerned.

Just as 40 points is the accepted points target for Premier League survival, in League One the rule of thumb is that a team needs to average two points per game over the course of the 46-game season in order to win automatic promotion.

It is not carved in tablets of stone, of course, but as a general guide it is a good place to start. …

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