After Phil Parkinson's appointment and his appalling initial results, I expressed my disgust in these pages in no uncertain terms.

Then there occurred a steady revival and winning became a habit and Sunderland climbed up the table. Some fans were even hailing Parkinson as some kind of League One "Gardiola." However, I think after today's result we need to adopt some kind of perspective.

The worrying thing for me is that when it comes to playing our main rivals at the top Sunderland disappoint and cannot seem to be able to make that final push into automatic play-off places. This was seen in the disappointing draws with Doncaster and Fleetwood and the defeats to Portsmouth and today at Coventry (or rather Birmingham!)

Those games add up to a lot of points dropped.

Of course, there are enough games left to turn things round but if this trend continues it looks like we'll stay in the leading pack but not rise above the play off teams and our record in the play offs is most certainly not inspiring.

When Sunderland were starting a true revival under Parkinson and a winning habit was settling in with some free scoring bouts on some occasions, a friend of mine said that he now felt very optimistic and that believed I had got Parkinson wrong.

My response was that if you averaged out his appalling start with the recent revival, he was doing OK - no more, and that ultimately I would judge him on the criterion of automatic promotion, nothing less. I'll stick with that view and hope that when we play other rival teams at the top we can begin to show some true class with convincing wins.