Mike Dodds explains why his confidence is still strong as Sunderland's slump continues

Sunderland boss Mike Dodds says he and the players remain confident as their slump in form continues
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Mike Dodds says he remains confident in what Sunderland are trying to do despite the six-game losing run that has all but ended their play-off hopes.

The Black Cats fell to a 4-2 defeat against Southampton at St Mary's on Saturday, despite a second-half comeback that briefly had the scores level. Dodds and his side are being badly impacted by the absences of a number of key players, with the XI fielded on Saturday the youngest in recent Championship history - and by a relatively comfortable distance.

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Dodds insists performances are still offering reasons to be positive and believes that the club's luck will begin to turn as players filter back into the group and a punishing fixture list over the last week begins to ease ever so slightly.

Asked of the confidence of the group had taken hit of late, Dodds said: "Mine hasn't. I'm really enjoying the role. If anything, it's reinforced that when things aren't going well I can still see the path we're trying to go on and I can still see and feel belief in the players.

"In terms of the players, they've lost six on the bounce, they're not skipping down the corridors and they're not high-fiving each other but they can see what we're trying to do. And you can look at the six results and they've been poor results but if you look at it from a performance perspective... The Huddersfield game wasn't a great performance, the Birmingham game the first half was a good performance and the second half a poor performance; Swansea I took responsibility for the first 45, I thought the second 45 was excellent; Norwich I felt we completely nullified them and there was nothing in the game; Leicester for large spells we were better them and I felt we deserved a lot more than what we got. And I thought we were better than Southampton for large spells but on this occasion the bit I can't defend is we've conceded four poor goals."

Dodds is unlikely to welcome any of his currently injured players back for QPR's visit this weekend, but expects the squad to be bolstered by the end of the upcoming international break.