Sunderland may be two points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League, but there’s still plenty of reasons for optimism at the Stadium of Light which make them worth backing at 18/25 to avoid being relegated at the end of the season.
Di Canio was axed before too much havoc was wrought
Although they’re staring up manager-less from the bottom of the division there are a healthy 32 games remaining in which to right the ship.
Better defensive organisation can stymie the flow of goals conceded
Sunderland have conceded important goals from set pieces against Fulham, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Liverpool so there’s at least one area of their malaise that can begin to be addressed instantly in training.
Gus Poyet is just the man to tighten up the backline
The Uruguayan, who is the hot-favourite to take over the reins at the Stadium of Light, was the architect of the Championship’s most miserly rearguard at Brighton last season.
There is plenty of togetherness in the team
The ousted Italian may have taken a sledgehammer to dressing room morale, but Sunderland played with plenty of desire against Liverpool, particularly in the second half when they mustered 23 shots.
Steven Fletcher is expected back in four matches
Fletcher started his career on Wearside with five goals in his first four Premier League games and a goal 19 minutes into his latest return from injury against Crystal Palace showed his predatory instincts will be a boon to his side’s chances when he’s back in contention.
There is creativity on both flanks
In Sebastian Larsson and Adam Johnson Sunderland’s next manager will be able to call upon plenty of ingenuity on the flanks.
Johnson has already laid on 14 scoring opportunities in six starts this term, while Larsson – a renowned dead-ball specialist – has played six key passes in four games.
Money has been no object for Black Cats gaffers in the past
Owner Ellis Short has been happy to plough money into the club during his period in charge parting with more than £30m during the course of 2012/13 and with staying in the Premier League a priority he’ll be sure to fund further recruitment in January if his manager deems it necessary.