Donald Love admits suffering a second-successive relegation with Sunderland is becoming an all too realistic fear.
The Black Cats decade-long stay in the Premier League came crashing to an end last season and they are now in danger of suffering back-to-back relegations and slipping into the third-tier of English football for the first time since 1988.
A run of four defeats in five Championship games has left Chris Coleman’s side second-bottom of the standings and two points adrift of safety ahead of their clash with promotion-chasing Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
Love admits it is scary to imagine Sunderland in League One after they were an established top-flight club for so long, but he knows it is up to the players to turn their fortunes around.
“It is a scary thought because Sunderland had always been in the Premier League when I was growing up,” Love was quoted as saying in the Shields Gazette.
“All I’ve known is Sunderland in the Premier League – nobody expected us to be where we are now. We need to get ourselves out of it. It is down to us as a group of players.”
Despite their lowly position, Love insists there is no problem with the spirit in the Sunderland squad, while he also believes they have more than enough quality to avoid the drop.
“There is nothing wrong with the team spirit. Spirits are high,” the former Manchester United youngster added.
“You can see the quality in training, everybody is buzzing around. We need to transfer that from training to matches.”