We have duty to Sunderland fans going into lockdown but points return is 'good' says Phil Parkinson
Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson admits that his team have a duty to keep the morale of supporters up as the country enters a second lockdown.
The announcement by the government that shops, pubs, restaurants and leisure facilities will close on Thursday until December 2 has come as a blow to businesses in the region.
Elite football is still allowed to be played, however, and Sunderland’s season will continue – albeit with games remaining being played behind closed doors.
Parkinson is hoping that the players can offer a morale boost to fans and the city by winning games and continuing their League One promotion push, starting tonight against Ipswich Town at an empty Stadium of Light.
He said: “Typically, we would have over 30,000 fans cheering us on under the lights and unfortunately it’s not going to be like that, but the lads are relishing it.
“They understand that going into this new lockdown football is going to be very important, so we want to try and keep everyone’s morale as high as possible.”
The Black Cats sit sixth in the League One table, four points behind second-placed Ipswich having played a game less, and Parkinson is content with the start to the campaign.
A win would see Sunderland move into the play-off positions and ensure they better their points tally after 10 games in the last two seasons.
“Our points return has been good and although we have played a game less than the teams above us, you can see that the league table is starting to take shape,” he added.