Is the top 6 realistic for Sunderland this season?


Following a season of David Moyes’ constant negativity, Simon Grayson and his positive never say die attitude has been a breath of fresh air for Sunderland supporters.

The former Preston North End manager is relishing the challenge of bringing the good times back to the Stadium of Light, however, the lack of funds on Wearside are beginning to prove a huge problem and the hopes of promotion are slowly but surely slipping away.

The bookies always write Sunderland off and again most think the Black Cats are unable to claw their way back to the Premier League, though this time, they may be right. If you do fancy an outside punt, this Bet365 matched deposit offer at Bonus Code may help minimise potential heartache come May, save for the unlikely (but not impossible) scenario we make it back to the big time through the lottery of the playoffs.

In any case, automatic promotion is certainly out of the question for Grayson’s men and a playoff place is the best they can hope for but just how realistic is a top six finish for Sunderland this season?

Up until their Yorkshire nightmare with drubbings at home to Leeds and away to Barnsley, Grayson’s men had fared well with respectable draws to Derby and Sheffield Wednesday and a sound 3-1 win away to Norwich.

However, the sheer amount of games compared to that of the top flight has quickly taken its toll on a threadbare Black Cat squad and their lack of incoming signings are going to affect the side massively over the course of the season if Grayson has no room to rotate.

Thus far, Grayson’s summer spending has totalled a little over a million with the head coach admitting that the Wearsiders’ days of spending £5million on one player are long gone, a sorry admission for a club that attracted crowds of 40,000 plus last season.

James Vaughan, Lewis Grabban, Aiden McGeady, Jason Steele, Robin Ruiter, Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning have all arrived at the Stadium of Light this summer with Ellis Short relying heavily on loan signings as he looks to clear the club’s mounting debt before he is able to sell the club. Grabban and McGeady have both impressed so far and should they continue their current form, the Black Cats certainly have a shot of the top six, however, if the rest of the team fail to step up, it’s going to be an impossible ask.

Vaughan looks great in the air but desperately needs a goal to set him on his way otherwise it’s going to be a long season for the former Bury man. Should Vaughan fail to become a goal scorer in the Championship, Sunderland will struggle massively in front of goal and the bottom six will look more realistic than the top six.

You can forgive the Sunderland faithful for becoming frustrated as they loan out the likes of Jeremain Lens, Fabio Borini and Wahbi Khazri, a talented attacking trio who ultimately just do not have the right attitude.

Add to that the loan departure of Papy Djilobodji and the Black Cats have over £40million worth of players out on loan, for a club with such dire financial circumstances, the top six is increasingly seeming like a miracle.

However, with the likes of Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore set to return from injury, their middle and frontlines are in line for a boost. If Watmore has managed to keep his pace, the youngster should take the division by storm, not only bringing the goals himself but also assisting a boatload. And if McNair, once rated highly by United, can replicate the form he showed before suffering a nasty knee injury, Grayson’s ability to rotate his midfield with the likes of Lee Cattermole, Didier Ndong and George Honeyman also available.

The top six may be unrealistic this season but if Grayson can achieve a strong top half finish, it may be within reaching distance next season.

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