At the turn of the year, everything looked rather rosy for Sunderland.
They had just welcomed a new owner in Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to the club while Lee Johnson was leading a rejuvenated Mackems.
He took them to third place as April rolled around and they looked the favourites for automatic promotion.
However, the Black Cats now haven’t won for five straight matches in League One. As it has done in recent years, promotion is looking an arduous task for Sunderland.
Their 2-2 draw with Hull City on Tuesday evening wasn’t the worst result on paper but a solitary point after three straight defeats is unlikely to do much for their cause.
Callum McFadzean was tortured all night by Mallik Wilks but if we are searching for positives, we need to look no further than Jordan Jones and Lynden Gooch.
Jones has been a revelation since joining on loan in January and after scoring against the Tigers, he now has three goals and four assists in nine starts.
Though, Gooch is now beginning to come to the party too. He can be found guilty of being inconsistent this term but he has stood up when it’s really mattered.
It was the Sunderland academy graduate who scored the crucial goal at Wembley when they ended over 40 years of hurt on the trophy front.
Gooch then stepped up against Hull on Tuesday night. He was a constant thorn in their defence and put in a number of crosses that Black Cats reporter James Hunter described as “dangerous.”
Aiden McGeady has been Sunderland’s chief creator this term on 13 assists but with the Irishman missing in midweek through injury, Gooch took on the mantle excellently.
He claimed the assist for Jones’ opening strike as the winger whipped in a delicious ball that was volleyed home. The £5k-per-week earner then played a pivotal part in winning the penalty that Grant Leadbitter scored from.
Gooch flicked the ball over Callum Elder before the Hull left-back handled the ball and the referee pointed to the spot.
The 25-year-old was in menacing form all evening, attempting two dribbles and being fouled a considerable five times. For context, no player was brought down more than Gooch in the entire game.
He came to life at a crucial point in Sunderland’s season but if McGeady is out for longer, they will need even more from him.
The forward needs to continue this type of form if Johnson’s men are to secure promotion to the Championship.