Sunderland's early failures under Phil Parkinson is food for thought for disgruntled Portsmouth fans

The international break meant Blues fans had to endure a fourth blank Saturday of the season last weekend.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:32 pm

That wouldn’t have stopped fans chewing the fat over all things Pompey, however.

Down the pub, in work, on the way to college, the Blues’ season so far will undoubtedly have been a hot topic of conversation.

And you can be sure one subject matter was debated over more than any other – Kenny Jackett.

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It’s a talking point that continues to split opinion, with fans aplenty on both sides of the argument and more perched on top of the fence still trying to decide.

The opening third of the League One season has been disappointing, with Pompey currently sat 13th in the table.

But the Blues are still only six points off the play-off places with games in hand.

And having lost just once in their past 10 games, the stats show momentum is starting to gather pace – albeit slowly.

Phil Parkinson took charge at Sunderland last month but has managed just two wins in nine games. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Despite that, there are those who remain disgruntled.

The Blues are still to fully convince, with contingents of fans bemoaning the lack of entertainment and style of football that’s been on offer.

While the ‘We Want Jackett Out’ chants have cooled in recent weeks, social media underlines there are still supporters who’d be happy if the manager was handed his P45.

That’s exactly what Sunderland did last month, when the axe was wielded on Jack Ross.

Although the Black Cats were sixth and four points outside the automatic promotion places with a game in hand, the Stadium of Light hierarchy were clearly worried the Scot may not have been the man to guide them back into the Championship for the start of next season.

The likes of Paul Cook and Gareth Ainsworth were linked with the vacant position. In the end, though, it was Phil Parkinson who took over in the hot seat.

The 51-year-old had guided Colchester and Bradford to promotion earlier in his career.

More crucially, though, was that Bolton made an immediate return to the Championship in 2016-17 under his tenure and his stock was still high.

And with a track record of delivering promotions, Parkinson’s instructions after signing up to the Black Cats project would have been simple – get the club back into the second tier.

While his appointment wasn’t met with widespread enthusiasm from the Mackem faithful, there was hope there’d be a new-manager bounce with results and that Parkinson would rejuvenate what has overall been a miserable few years in Wearside.

But after just more than a month at the helm and a squad bursting with quality at this level, fans are still waiting for that much-anticipated lift-off.

Parkinson has managed just two victories in nine matches, with both coming against strugglers Southend and Tranmere.

As a result, they currently reside in ninth place in the League One table – just four points above the Blues.

Even in the apathetic EFL Trophy, the manager has played strong sides but still failed to deliver results.

And their misery was compounded by being dumped out of the FA Cup against Gillingham on Tuesday night – another lacklustre performance by all accounts given the noises being made in the north east.

Perhaps when the January transfer window opens, Parkinson will recruit the players he feels Sunderland need to yield promotion.

The Black Cats have still got six games until fresh faces are permitted to arrive, however, and could find themselves further adrift of the top two.

Overall, it shows that the grass isn’t necessarily always greener following a chance in manager midway through a season.

And that’s something those who are still calling for Jackett’s head should take into consideration.