JACK COLBACK admits Sunderland are back to square one after their failure to build on their derby triumph.
Nine-man Sunderland succumbed to a seventh defeat in eight Premier League outings at Hull on Saturday, with the margin between the second-bottom Black Cats and the safety mark now standing at five points.
Gus Poyet’s side had hoped their first top-flight win of the campaign against Newcastle eight days ago would prove to be a turning point in their fight for survival.
But after Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena were both sent off in first-half stoppage time after falling behind to Carlos Cuellar’s own goal, Sunderland could not find a way back against Steve Bruce’s Tigers.
“It’s a game we were coming to hoping to get some points from,” admitted midfielder Colback.
“We said leading up to it that all the efforts we put in against Newcastle would be wasted if we left Hull with a defeat.
“It keeps us in a difficult position, but we need to keep fighting to get some wins for the fans.”
Sunderland arguably performed better in the second half with nine men than they had done in the opening 45 minutes with a full quota of players.
Poyet’s side defended resolutely and could – and probably should – have snatched a point when substitute Adam Johnson had just Hull stopper Steve Harper to beat, but saw his shot saved by the former Newcastle United man.
Colback added: “When you go down to nine men in any game, it’s going to be very difficult.
“We just tried to get something from the game with the situation we were in.
“We just focused on what we could do with the nine men.
“We changed it around a bit and played it to how we could best adapt to the situation.
“I think we did it well. We limited them to crosses into the box and defended well.
“We had a couple of chances and the one we could have put in, we missed, but that’s how it goes.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland striker Connor Wickham netted on his “second debut” for Championship club Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, as the Owls recorded a first win of the campaign.
Wickham, who spent a month on loan at Hillsborough last season, penned a two-month loan deal with Dave Jones’s side on Friday and, after being thrust straight into the starting XI, the 20-year-old slammed home the fourth in a 5-2 win over Reading.
David Vaughan was handed a Championship start on Saturday too, as the Welsh international played 84 minutes for Nottingham Forest in their 1-0 defeat to Blackpool.
Vaughan, who is out of contract in the summer, joined Forest in a three-month loan last week.