Simon Grayson insists promotion remains the priority for Sunderland this term despite their early-season struggles in the Championship.
The Black Cats were relegated to the second-tier for the first time since 2007 last season, but they have made a poor start to the campaign, as they are currently second-bottom of the standings after picking up just seven points from their opening 11 league games.
Indeed Grayson’s men have failed to win any of their last nine league matches, although there were signs of encouragement in their last game before the international break, as they salvaged a 2-2 draw away at high-flying Preston.
Next up for Sunderland is a home clash with out-of-form Queens Park Rangers at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and Grayson is hoping a positive result against the Hoops can act as springboard for the rest of the season.
The 47-year-old said: “As quickly as you can lose a few games and move down the table in this division – three wins in a short space of time can certainly take you up the table.”
Grayson insists Sunderland’s aims for the season have not changed despite their sluggish start, as he believes they can still secure a place in the play-offs and potentially an instant return to the Premier League.
He added: “Our attitude hasn’t changed from day one – we still want to be somewhere near the play-offs, we want to be promoted if we can this year, and that’s still viable because of the nature of the Championship and how tight it is.”
Sunderland are priced at 2.20 to secure just their second league win of the season on Saturday, while QPR are available at 3.30 and the draw is on offer at 3.40.