Phil Parkinson has been previewing the the trip to MK Dons on the back of our six-game unbeaten run. “We said after the Christmas period that the aim was to get back in amongst it,” he said. “We have achieved that and now we have given ourselves a platform to push on between now and the end of the season. If we can reproduce the performance level of late then we will have a great chance of coming back with a positive result. It’s all elements of the game that we keep stressing to the players. Their work rate off the ball and closing down are all elements of the game that we need to get right if we want to be a successful team. It’s about doing both sides of the game - our creativity and movement - but also when the ball changes hands we have got to win it back as quickly as possible. You can see the work we have done on the training pitch coming out in the games and we have got to continue that.”

Parkinson also gave a transfer window update. “If you look at the shape of the team at the moment, we’ve got a number nine in Charlie and then two either side of him. We’ve got to make sure we have options in those areas. Duncan Watmore’s another one, I think he’s unlucky not to be in the team. He’s trained really well again. Elliot Embleton comes back into the equation in our thinking as well. We’ve got to make sure by the time the window shuts, I’m not looking around the bench and we don’t have the option to change things around because that’s absolutely key. Kyle Lafferty has played in a wide area for Norther Ireland and for teams as well, but predominantly he is a number nine. In this system, it would be difficult but you need options and that’s why we brought Kyle in and he’s determined to push his way in the team. Griggy has got to keep going. He could be one moment away from getting himself going,” said the Sunderland manager, whose side travel to MK Dons on Saturday. He’s got more competition now than he’s had for a while at the club and he’s got to earn the right to be in the team. There’s going to be clubs looking at Will Grigg because his record is exceptional and at the moment we want to keep everyone, but as the window progresses if we feel someone has fallen down the pecking order we’ll look at it differently. At the moment, Will is in the squad travelling down, so is Kyle and so is McNulty. We’ll have a decision to make and we’ll base that on the players we think are right for this game. At the moment, it’s a no (on going out on loan). But like I said, when the window draws to a close if we’re happy with the squad and someone comes in for one of our players and we feel it will benefit us and them to go then we will look at it. Greg Docherty (of Rangers) is a player we have looked at and we have had initial chats. There is a number of those chats going on. We will concentrate on the weekend and then we will see after that.”

In other news, Sunderland’s man of the moment, Lynden Gooch, can’t wait for the trip to MK Dons this weekend. “It’s always important and nice to have a large backing with you. The support down at Doncaster (when we took 5,000 fans) was tremendous so we are hoping we can put in another good away performance and replicate that day. It’s been another clear week for us with no midweek game so we will be going into Saturday’s game fresh and ready to go. We want to start off like we have done in the last two games. MK Dons have picked up a fair few results in the last couple of weeks, so it is going to be tough. It is a nice ground with a big pitch so hopefully we can go there and implement our style of play.”