Sam Allardyce is grateful he has 30 matches in which to preserve Sunderland’s Premier League status, especially as he feels he may need the majority of these.
The Black Cats have flirted with relegation in each of the past three seasons, and their start t the current campaign would indicate another struggle is on the horizon. Still without a win after eight matches Sunderland have collected just three points and are already five points adrift of safety, whilst only rivals Newcastle United are below them in the early standings.
This resulted in the departure of Dick Advocaat last week, just hours after he saw his side blow a 2-0 lead to surrender two points at home to West Ham United. It if the former manager of the latter who has now been given the task of keeping the club in the top-flight, but as happy as he is to be back in the spotlight, he insists there will be no easy fix at the Stadium of Light.
“The opportunity to have the next 30 games to get us out is as important as anything else and it could take the vast majority of that,” said Allardyce. “The club has had to wait until the last game to ensure safety three times over the last few years. I want to make sure we don’t get into that panic zone, and 30 games to get there is one of the reasons why I took the job. It gives me a bit of time.”
Following the interruption of the international break, the Premier League resumes this weekend when Sunderland travel to West Bromwich Albion, themselves just a place above the relegation zone. The following week is the match which could really see the Stadium of Light club ignite their campaign, as Newcastle – a former club of Allardyce’s – are the visitors to Wearside.