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In a lot of ways it could be looked at as ideal preparation with many areas being identified as areas for improvement following the final whistle on Saturday afternoon, and no doubt the desire will be there to put some of those right.
But with a 100% record at home, having scored the joint-most goals in the division on home soil and considering only four League One sides have conceded fewer, it must also be a consideration not to tinker too much with what has so far proven to be a winning formula.
Still only beaten once in the league, by Burton Albion back in August – when the Brewers ran out fortuitous winners by scoring with their only shot on target – Sunderland hosted Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon full of confidence and perhaps expecting a comfortable three points.
However, the Black Cats’ failure to add to an early lead made for a tense conclusion at the Stadium of Light, where the hosts only made it five home wins out of five this season thanks to Carl Winchester‘s 17th-minute strike.
Though Bolton put them under some serious pressure during spells in the second half, Lee Johnson‘s men emerged with the all-important points and recovered ground lost to their likely rivals for direct entry to the Championship next spring.
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Sunderland had previously let a two-goal advantage slip at Fleetwood Town to end up with only a point, so recording a clean sheet and a win will have pleased Johnson ahead of his side’s final fixture of a successful month so far.
With a hectic eight-game October schedule lying in wait, the Wearsiders are now keen to establish their credentials as automatic promotion candidates after an agonisingly prolonged stay in League One