Date:Monday December 3 2012
Martin O'Neill celebrates a year in charge of Sunderland today but after another defeat on Sunday evening it will hardly be the most joyous anniversary of his maiden year at the Stadium of Light.
The 60 year-old Kilrea-born boss took over the Black Cats' job a year ago today, replacing Steve Bruce at the helm of the club.
After an initial boost which saw the Lads beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 during O'Neill's first match in charge of the side, Sunderland have tumbled towards the relegation zone and are currently enduring a run of just two wins since March.
Sunday's 2-1 defeat at former employers Norwich City leaves Sunderland 17th, just a point above Southampton who are on 12 points from 15 games.
After 12 months and 47 matches in charge of the Black Cats, O'Neill has won 16 matches, drawing the same amount and losing a further 15 times.
O'Neill enjoyed an excellent first few months in charge at the Stadium of Light, losing just two of his first 13 league and cup matches, those defeats coming at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
However, Sunderland finished last season without a win since the 3-1 triumph over Queens Park Rangers in March, and that run extended into the current campaign until a 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic at the end of September.
The Ulsterman has been candid enough to admit that his side are in a relegation fight as a result of their poor form:
'Until you get the requisite number of points I don't think that you can ever think anything else,' O'Neill told BBC Sport
'You need the points, it really is as simple as that. We haven't got enough points on the board at the minute and we have to rectify that.'
It's too early to judge the success of O'Neill's transfer additions with permanent additions only secured this summer.
Steven Fletcher at £12m has gone off the boil following a brilliant start to the campaign, whilst Adam Johnson has struggled to hit the form he showed at Manchester City.
Free agent Carlos Cuellar has been a mainstay at the heart of the Cats' defence whilst fellow freebie Louis Saha has struggled for game time with Fletcher the preferred line-leader in a one-forward system.
Date:Monday December 3 2012
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Southampton Trip Sold Out For Black Cats (Monday October 13 2014)
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