With Christmas, just over a month away, Sunderland are set to still be stuck in the terror of Halloween after two poor showings in the past week.
Defeat to Leicester City’s U21’s and League Two Scunthorpe in the Leasing.com Trophy as well as a draw against Gillingham in the FA Cup, see’s manager Phil Parkinson’s nightmare start get even more terrifying.
But with Parkinson’s first transfer window closing in, it could prove to be a pivotal window in the Black Cat’s attempt to counter a third stint in the third tier.
Here we look at three key areas, which Sunderland must strengthen in January to keep any hopes of automatic promotion alive.
A Goal scorer
With Sunderland creating more chances, the lack of a finishing touch from the strikers is a major concern.
With current options Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke drawing blanks and Marc McNulty being resigned to cup games and appearances from the bench, the problem continues to get worse.
And with Parkinson preferring a big and mobile target man, he may dip into the market to find the striker that fits into his system.
But whatever happens Sunderland’s goalscoring issue must be solved, either by keeping faith in the current options and hope it works out or bring in a new option to potentially solve the problem position.
A lack of pace in forward areas has plagued Sunderland since they were relegated to League One back in 2018.
With the injury prone Duncan Watmore, Lynden Gooch and Denver Hume attempting to fill that void, should they get injured they could struggle against the stronger defences in the league.
And then with star man Aiden McGeady majorly underperforming, the left wing is becoming the major problem that left-back Hume cannot solve alone.
In an area that has yet to be addressed in three transfer windows, it is about time it is addressed in the fourth with it being one of the most glaring issues with this Sunderland squad.
While Sunderland are creating more chances, clear-cut opportunities are few and far between.
The Black Cats find their attacks only going through Chris Maguire at the moment and when he is not in the squad, the lack of ideas going forward is painfully clear.
And with highly-rated youngster Elliot Embleton out for at least the next three months, things look to be Maguire or bust should they look for any chance of scoring.
With the area a forever growing concern, it is clear to see why Sunderland fans are calling for Peterborough talisman Marcus Maddison, who is exactly the type of creative midfielder Sunderland are desperately in need of.