If Sunderland don’t achieve promotion this season, it will cause deep-rooted frustration.
It will create sadness and perhaps an everlasting mindset that the Mackems are destined to see out their existence in the third tier of English football.
This season, however, has been that will go down in the history books. They have new owners, perhaps their most impressive manager in a number of years and they are currently in third place in League One.
The Black Cats have a wonderful opportunity to get promoted and if they secure that in the remaining games of the campaign, it will be the icing on the cake.
This has been a term where Sunderland won their first trophy in 48 years, beating Tranmere at Wembley in the EFL Trophy final a number of weeks ago.
Lee Johnson’s men didn’t have it all their own way in that game and that was largely thanks to flying right-back Otis Khan.
The 25-year-old was a constant thorn in the Sunderland defence, terrorising Callum McFadzean. On that occasion, Khan completed as many as four dribbles, the joint-highest of any player on the day.
The defender also attempted seven crosses and won five of his seven duels defensively. No wonder he’s been described as a player who “works hard” by Keith Hill. Unfortunately for Tranmere and Khan, it was the Mackems who took home the silverware.
Sunderland clearly liked what they saw from Khan because he’s now been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light.
It would be a shrewd capture from Johnson and one that could take not only their defence to the next level but also their attack.
With Jordan Jones and Aiden McGeady on the flanks, there is always a reason to be excited heading into a Sunderland match. Both players have created goals and chances at will for Charlie Wyke this term, a man who has found the net on 26 occasions in 2020/21.
The addition of Khan, however, could give him even proper opportunities to score. You only need to look at that performance at Wembley. In delivering just over half a dozen crosses, he was a rampant threat.
He has been transformed from a winger into a full-back at Tranmere and that’s certainly evident in the way Khan gets forward.
The right-sided defender has made 1.4 key passes per game this term and 1.1 successful crosses per match. For context, only Denver Hume and McGeady in the Sunderland side have conjured up more chance creations and crosses.
Both of those players happen to be their weapons down the left. On the opposite side, Sunderland don’t quite have the same potency. The addition of Khan, therefore, could be huge.
The thought of him whipping deliveries in for Wyke to head home is something worth salivating over.