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Phil Parkinson straining to keep dark clouds away from Sunderland

Sunderland are unbeaten in five games and within touching distance of a play-off place in League One.

With owner Stewart Donald reiterating his desire to sell the club this week the manager’s focus is on maintaining a promotion push as high-flying Wycombe visit on Saturday

It is a wet, windy Thursday lunchtime at Sunderland’s training ground and nervous eyes rest on a learner driver honing their reversing skills within the players’ parking lot .

Back within the not so distant days when the Academy of sunshine was a Premier League practice base, suffering from Porsches and Bentleys, such a cameo would are unthinkable. Now the absence of previously prominent security sentries afford this once state-of-the-art complex a rather neglected, semi-deserted, air. With nobody staffing main reception, the building’s sheet glass front doors are locked. judi online https://www.judibolaterbaik.co

Almost three years after throwing in the towel of English football’s top tier, and deep into the second season of an unwanted League One sojourn, the consequences of some brutal cost-cutting are clearly apparent. It would, though, be very wrong to assume Sunderland is an uncared-for club.

Instead it provokes such powerful emotions that recent weeks have witnessed the eruption of an unsightly war between supporters and therefore the board, with the manager, Phil Parkinson, briefly threatening to become fatal accident before results improved and fans began arguing among themselves.

The learner’s clutch control appears infinitely less jerky than the recently chaotic, and highly charged, manoeuvres at the 49,000-capacity Stadium of sunshine .

To understand the events that prefaced the hostile fall-out from a disappointing home draw with Bolton on Boxing Day , it’s necessary to rewind to May 2018 when Stewart Donald, previously the owner of non-league Eastleigh, bought Sunderland from the American billionaire Ellis Short following two successive relegations. Donald’s initial plan involved an instantaneous return to the Championship before attracting the type of large-scale investment he, personally, couldn’t provide. Instead Jack Ross narrowly omitted on promotion and was sacked last October. Parkinson has since steered Sunderland, six-times English champions, to a historic nadir: mid-table within the third tier.

Matters boiled over on Boxing Day when involves the previous Bradford and Bolton manager’s head were augmented by a sometimes uneasy, social-media-fuelled amalgam of varied fans groups demanding Donald go too. This coalition swiftly issued a proper statement demanding he sell out .

Considering Donald has spent much of the past nine months actively, openly and forlornly attempting to seek out a buyer it seemed academic but he took the hint and, on Monday, issued an emotional club bulletin reiterating his intentions to depart.

As reaffirmations go it all appeared a touch bizarre. If appeasement was the aim it arguably merely deflected yet more pressure on to Parkinson’s team at a time once they are unbeaten in five games and within touching distance of a play-off place before Saturday’s game against high-flying Wycombe.