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Don't worry, 'bout a thing, ‘cos every little thing, gonna be alright. OK, let’s be clear, no one told you you’d enjoy supporting Sunderland. It’s those brief moments of pleasure interspersed between years of misery that we know we’re going to get. And I still think we might get one of those over the next 16 games.

Really, I do. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully.

The speed with which we’ve managed to rule ourselves out of a top two finish is exceptional even by our standards, but the season is far from over.

Once games in hand are taken into account, we sit eighth and on a dreadful run that, really, goes back to December. The lack of fitness in the squad is really holding us back with Doyle on Saturday chasing back like, well, me. We know he’s slow, but he needs a break. So does Dan Neil. And I think Cirkin is looking tired too.

But the players we are likely to have available soon should help. Batth can come in for Doyle and bring an experienced (if also slow) centre half pairing. Perhaps O’Nien comes in to strengthen the back line or central midfield, Defoe, Roberts and Clarke will get more training and, hopefully, minutes on the pitch. And I’m genuinely excited about McGeady and Defoe playing together as a double substitution

What I’m saying is that we could be in a position to hit form over the next 10 games or so just because we can give people a rest and, in the process, be the team who enter the play offs on form, not as we have previously, dropping down and hitting the play offs with a resigned feeling of failure.

Alex Neil has a decent record going into the end of seasons and his increased expectations of fitness, energy and commitment will hopefully see us also play at a greater tempo as we move forwards with experience helping the defence defend and the attackers put a foot on the ball and think about where we’re going.

It’s annoying that, off the field, the old names have reappeared and this has happened as the club experiences a dip in fortunes on the pitch with badly timed info coming out (41% and Bally going). While I hope and expect KLD to move onto the second stage of his “takeover” before the end of the season and but people out once and for all, I don’t think we can afford to be distracted by it.

Unless you believe that Methven is actually one of the dementors from Harry Potter, sucking the life and enjoyment from the world or going into the changing room and changing the formation to two tortoises in central defence, then I couldn’t give a damn if he goes to games. Please don’t misunderstand me, I want him and Donald gone from the club in all capacities but, over the next three months, I’m going to let KLD, Steve Davison etc get on with the share transactions and let us know when it’s done… ideally before we lift that trophy at Wembley, well, ideally, this week but, this week I’m more interested in three points against Burton and the start of our play-off victory run. I can hope anyway…

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