O'Neill: I'm the only man for Sunderland
Defiant Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has insisted he is not just the best man for the job on Wearside, but the only one.
O'Neill, 60, has overseen a run which sees the club in the bottom three as a result of claiming only two victories in their last 23 league games. This, after sparking a revival which hauled the Black Cats away from the Premier League relegation zone when he took over the job 12 months ago.
But, ahead of a crucial re-arranged clash with fellow strugglers Reading, O'Neill was bullish over suggestions that he may not be in his current position for long.
"So what do you do then? So you go and put someone else in charge, he gets a group of 12, 13 games and can't win any matches? It's the same thing," O'Neill said.
"I don't want to sound wildly boastful, but not only am I the best man for the job, I am actually the only man for the job. We will steer it through, we will get calmer waters ahead - it might take us a few months to do that - and then we will see.
"If we are continuing for the next couple of years to be in this position, then I will certainly question it then.''
Despite good support from the stands, Sunderland have won only two league games all season, and just one on their own pitch, and the manager knows until performances start to yield points, it is difficult to claim progress has been made.
He said: "Progress eventually, no matter what you think about it, is determined by results on the pitch, and we are in a similar position, so you could say whether we have made that sort of progress or not.
"It's interesting because it's really the same squad that we have had - we still have, I think, about 19 players from last season.
"The spirit is still there, and that was the thing I noticed most, really, that it hadn't been broken, and that spirit should stand us in really decent stead. But spirit alone is eventually not enough. Of course you need to add and we need to get stronger if we can.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report