MARTIN O'Neill last night defiantly insisted he is not only the right man to manage Sunderland but also the only man for the job.
Anything other than a Sunderland home victory tonight against Reading, who are one place below them in the Premier League table in second-bottom position, would be perilous for the club.
A trip to Manchester United awaits the Black Cats this weekend with a tricky visit to Southampton to follow.
Sunderland fans, while far from happy, have stayed with the manager and team so far, despite a return of just two wins from 23 league games. However, the general feeling on Wearside is these pre-Christmas fixtures, starting with tonight’s match, are vital if this season is to be turned around.
Club owner Ellis Short has given no indication O’Neill’s job as Black Cats boss is in danger.
The Northern Irishman (pictured left) firmly believes there is nobody about who could replace him on Wearside.
He said: “What do you do? 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.
“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 two years to be in this position, then I will certainly question it then.”