Niall Quinn promises inquest into Sunderland form

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has promised an inquest into the club's morale-sapping slump which is threatening to derail their season.

Black Cats fans had hoped to see Steve Bruce's side challenging for Europe as the campaign entered its final throes, but instead, they find themselves desperately trying to avoid being sucked into an unseemly scrap for Barclays Premier League survival.

A run of seven defeats in eight games has left Sunderland just five places and six points clear of the drop zone with four of their remaining six fixtures coming against sides fighting for their top-flight lives.

Injuries have done the Black Cats few favours - defender John Mensah was today ruled out for at least three weeks with a torn groin muscle - but Bruce knows a drastic upturn in fortunes is required to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

The manager continues to enjoy the backing of Quinn and owner Ellis Short despite some fans starting to voice their disapproval, but the chairman knows questions need to be asked and insists they will be.

Quinn told the Sunderland Echo: "Once we get through this, we will look back to see what might have been done differently, how we might have improved things.

"And of course in the summer, we will evaluate things such as the catastrophic injury problems we have had to contend with and look at our transfer policy collectively.

"Just like last season, we will sit down with Steve, take stock and work out together how we improve on this season and how we continue the building process to make us stronger and better in the following season."

Bruce and his players embarked upon the new campaign intent on securing a first top-10 Premier League finish since the days when Peter Reid's side threatened to make an impression on the big boys a decade ago.

They had just missed out at the end of the new manager's first season at the helm, when 13th place was regarded as something of a disappointment despite the fact it was a significant improvement on the two previous campaigns.

A return of 37 points from the first 24 games left them in with a genuine chance of breaking into the top six, although a difficult run of fixtures and the improving form of the likes of Liverpool and Everton always suggested that might be difficult.

Bruce himself refused to talk about Europe, but even he could not have imagined the run of results, admittedly in the face of an injury crisis, which has fuelled an ongoing downward spiral.

Defeats by Chelsea, Stoke, Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool and West Brom either side of a creditable 0-0 draw at Arsenal have prompted a spectacular collapse, and a failure to return from the manager's former club, Birmingham, with anything to show for their efforts at the weekend could set the alarm bells ringing ever louder.

That run could hardly have come at a worse time for Quinn, who has spent much of the last few weeks meeting supporters at a series of talk-ins in an attempt to persuade stay-away fans to return to the Stadium of Light.

But he, like Bruce, remains confident the trend will be reversed.

Quinn said: "I know that everyone inside the club, from top to bottom, is trying to do their very best to help things turn around again, and all that counts at the moment is that we concentrate on picking up points for our final few games.

"Everyone at the club is fully committed and focused on finishing as high up the Premier League table as we possibly can, and hopefully things will finally starting going our way over the next few weeks."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones