Former SAFC madman Alex Rae has urged Stewart Donald to sell and sell quick for the good of the club and all those who sail in her. “Whenever I see clubs doing particularly well, everyone is in sync,” he explained. When I go back to my time at Sunderland, we had a chairman who was very much trying to take the club in the right direction. Bob built the Stadium of Light and had a trusted nucleus of players and staff and a good group of youth players too. If you can get all those elements rolling in the right direction, then you can have a very good club. The perfect example is my old club Wolves. They’ve got a good manager; good players and the fans are loving it. It’s important that if they want to sell, the quicker someone can take over the club and drive them forward the better - because that has to come from the boardroom. But if these guys are willing to dig in and back the manager then people should get behind them.”

Rae reckons that Phil Parkinson has done amazingly well to turn this around, after a poor start and that momentum could be key to our season. “It’s been a frustrating time, but thankfully Phil looks like he’s arrested what was happening for a while,” he added. “There looks to be a good bit of momentum, which is brilliant because it’s been frustrating watching them. That’s the main thing - it’s been very, very frustrating. I don’t mean to disrespect anyone in League One, but when I see Sunderland playing some of the smaller teams in the league I think ‘my God’. I was fortunate that I was there for a couple of years in the Championship and a couple of years in the Premiership, so I’ve probably seen the better of things. You just want to get the club back to that place. I know when Phil came in things were a bit stop-start, but he’s got that momentum now. I know Phil from back in the day when he was a player at Reading. He was a fierce competitor and he’ll be desperate to get promoted. It’s all about getting the club moving in the right direction again. There’s been a bit of apathy over the last few years, but the one consistent is the fans. They’re still getting 30,000, 35,000 and that’s remarkable. If they went back up to the Championship and keep that momentum then you’re looking at 40,000 people coming on a weekly basis and it makes a difference. I’ve been there. When you’ve got that backing it can make a difference. Whenever I hear Republica on the radio, it takes me back to the time I was playing at the Stadium of Light and the place was absolutely bouncing. I remember it fondly, and I miss those days because if anyone doesn’t enjoy their time at Sunderland then there’s something very much wrong.”

Meanwhile, today’s answer to Alex Rae, Max Power, is staying super focused for the battle ahead, despite a great run of form. “This isn’t a time to start getting ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves and start getting giddy. We put the Portsmouth defeat behind us quickly and managed to bounce back. Now we can’t take our home form for granted because we need to go out and replicate what we have been doing. We have got a really good squad and there is a really good spirit at the moment. At full time on Saturday there were lads who didn’t get on come onto the pitch and were really happy for the lads who have played. It’s important we continue to show the togetherness we have done recently, and you can see the standards we have set ourselves. There will be plenty of twists and turns between now and the end of the season so it’s important we remain level and get ready for Saturday.”