Why Sunderland's game with Blackpool could be make or break for under-fire Phil Parkinson

Former Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott believes a poor result against Blackpool on Saturday could leave Stewart Donald with a major decision to make on Phil Parkinson’s future.

Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson.
Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson.

Parkinson has endured a torrid start to life on Wearside, winning just two of his first twelve league games.

Sunderland have been dumped out of three cups since the former Bolton Wanderers boss replaced Jack Ross, and the 1-0 defeat to Gillingham left his side 11th in the league table.

Fans have been vocal in calling for change, with Parkinson facing chants of ‘sacked in the morning’ during the last game at the Stadium of Light, a 2-1 defeat to Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion.

Anger only grew after the defeat to Gillingham, with Duncan Watmore and Aiden McGeady playing no part in an insipid 1-0 defeat.

Chris Maguire also played a minimal role in the defeat, brought on in the 89th minute.

Elliott, who won promotion to the Premier League with Sunderland under both Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane, believes the team are significantly underperforming and are leaving the club with much to ponder ahead of the January window.

“He hasn’t been in charge for very long but he’s had a lot of games in that short period of time and we’ve not seen anything in the team to suggest that he’s the guy to get the job done, to get the club competing at the top end of the table,” Elliott said.

“It’s harsh but football is a results-based business and if he doesn’t get a result against Blackpool, you’d be seriously looking at it as the owner, do you do something now or wait until January to give him the funds to do something. At the moment, he hasn’t looked up to the job.

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“When Jack Ross went, a lot of people were saying it was probably the right thing to part ways with Jack and me included, he probably had run his course a little but. But that was provided the club had a plan in place and that the replacement was going to make the team better.

“If anything it’s been a lot worse. It’s been really poor to watch.”