May 18, 2024

The Black Cats are targeting a place in the Championship play-offs but have been warned against aiming too high too soon

Sunderland’s FA Cup derby day defeat to rivals Newcastle United should serve as a warning of not over-achieving this season. That’s the view of former Black Cats and Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge, who insists his old side should not get ahead of themsevles when it comes to their short-term ambitions.

With 19 games remaining, Michael Beale’s team is tied for sixth place with Coventry City, solidly in the hunt for a top-six spot. Naturally, the Black Cats shocked everyone by qualifying for the playoffs the previous season and falling to Luton Town in two legs. However, despite being in the running for most of the current campaign, questions have been raised about their consistency and, more importantly, their ability to score goals.

QPR 0-0 Sunderland Carabao Cup stats and facts | LiveScore

Bridge, who saw success with Southampton, Chelsea, and Manchester City before spending a year on loan at Wearside in 2012, believes that if they are to make it through the play-offs, they will need to make significant roster changes. And he identified the class divide that Newcastle’s 3-0 victory highlighted as to why promotion ‘too fast’ could not be a good thing.

“There was a clear difference in quality between Sunderland and Newcastle in their FA Cup tie,” Bridge told BetVictor. “So if Sunderland do come up then it could be too soon for them.

“They could just come straight back down. Sunderland will obviously want to be promoted this season but sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

“If they do go up then there will have to be some massive improvements because I haven’t seen them kick on enough yet and it is still touch and go as to whether they secure a play-off spot. If they go up, all the infrastructure and everything about the club has to be perfect, otherwise they’ll come straight back down. You can see a clear difference in quality between them and the Premier League clubs.”

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