Phil Parkinson was relaxed and happy to face the press following our 4-0 demolition of Wycombe Wanderers, which sees us move into a play-off spot. “I’m very pleased,” said Parkinson. “It was a big game for us, with the top of the league team coming to town. I thought the lads built on the performances of recent weeks, in particular the Lincoln victory [last week] and probably went a level above that because in the second half against Lincoln we took a step back, but today we kept the momentum going. I think you have to say it is [a statement] because they were at the top of the league when they came to our home patch, and you have to make a statement and I think we have done that with the manner of the performance. As I said last week, I can feel the momentum building in the group. We have to keep our feet on the ground and concentrate on all the elements we need to keep putting in place to carry on playing like that, and we start that again on Monday morning. It’s always good to get an early goal and it kind of carried on from where we had left off the week before. I’m so pleased for Charlie because he has been excellent in recent weeks, his all-round game, so to get that goal will give him another lift. And I was so pleased with Denver’s goal. We had Jordan Willis, the right-sided centre-back crossing it in, and the left wingback getting in and finishing. The goal had been coming for Denver - he is a very good finisher, and we see that all the time in training. He finished with real confidence and there is more to come from him in that department, I’m sure.”
So, what’s changed of late for Sunderland, who have gone from winning one game in two months, to three victories in a fortnight: “It’s a combination of working on how we are playing, finding a way of playing in terms of the shape of the team, the fitness levels of the lads has definitely gone up and that’s credit to them and the work they have done in the week in training. And you can sense there is a real togetherness and determination amongst the lads and we have to keep that going. There’s a different feel about the team at the moment. I’m enjoying working with the lads and so are the staff. They are on a high in the dressing room and that’s great - you have to enjoy victories as a manager and as a player because we work very hard to achieve them. I thought that was the best home atmosphere since I have been here. The supporters were great, got right behind the lads, and responded to the way we were playing and the lads are enjoying that. We have to use our support to our benefit and we certainly did that today. Even in the second half when at times it got a little bit bitty with set-plays, they still got right behind us and lifted us right to the end.”
On the transfer front, Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough has rejected a bid, thought to be from Sunderland, for Liam Boyce. Clough said: “It’s the same with everybody here that if a club comes in with the right offer then we look at it. That hasn’t changed in 20 years. We have had a bit of interest generally and one bid we have rejected. That’s as far it has gone so far."
Meanwhile, Parkinson is remaining coy on the Boyce front, but was more open about Gary Madine and also gave an update on Kyle Lafferty’s fitness: "Liam is under contract at Burton but is a good player, scores goals at this level but obviously is under contract so is a difficult one of me to speak on. Not at the moment with Gaz (Gary Madine). We have brought Lafferty in and we’ve got Charlie [Wyke], [Will] Grigg, and [Marc] McNulty, so we are starting to build some good competition at that top end. But I’m very pleased to bring Kyle in. He is a good addition and he brings competition at the top of the pitch. He has good energy, he can stretch the pitch, he has good physicality about him, and his movement in and around the box is good. We’re looking forward to working with him. He has a bit of work to do because he hasn’t played for a while but that started this morning - he was in for training on Saturday. I don’t think he is too far away. He has kept himself ticking over since his spell in Norway. We brought him in last week for a physical assessment because I think that’s important when players have had a bit of downtime, and he looked good in the work we did with him. He’s a player who has played on a big stage and he is relishing the challenge of being part of this Sunderland squad. I wouldn’t imagine anything else will happen over the weekend, but we are working on things early next week.”
Parkinson also gave an update on Tom Flanagan, who was replaced at half time by Joel Lynch: “I’m not sure how bad he is, he just popped his shoulder a bit and it was a shame because I thought Tom was playing well. But those things happen and it was great to have Lynchy to come on and I thought he did really well, especially against the physicality of Wycombe.”