It was all going so well. Just a matter of weeks ago Sunderland were sitting in a play-off spot having lost just once in two months, with promotion hopes moving from unlikely to genuine.
Since then, as a busy fixture list took its toll on the Black Cats’ squad, the club slipped to three defeats on the bounce for the first time since their promotion to the second tier and are now five points off the coveted top six.
With 11 games still to play, that dream of competing for a Premier League place is far from over, but this week’s ChronicleLive survey of Sunderland fans has highlighted the tough task that lies ahead for Tony Mowbray’s men.
READ MORE: Tony Mowbray says 'play-offs never on his mind' and Sunderland promotion push will come in time
When hundreds of fans were asked for their expectations for the final months of the Championship season, a convincing 85% of the Black Cats support believed the club will miss out on a play-off place this term.
It’s unsurprising given Sunderland’s target at the beginning of the season, fresh from League One promotion, was to consolidate their place in a tougher division. Perhaps more surprising is that most fans expect the club to fall away from the play-off race entirely as the season draws to a close.
More than half of the respondents expect their side to finish tenth or lower, while just 5% believe the club will miss out by a single place and finish seventh.
The full results:
4th or higher: 1%
11th or lower: 26%
Where do you think Sunderland will finish this season? Do you agree with the verdicts of your fellow fans? Join the conversation in the comments below…
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