3 minute read
17/11/2022 | 06:05pm
Sunderland finally ended their four-year stay in the third tier of English football as they secured promotion out of League One by winning the play-offs.
Alex Neil led the Black Cats to glory as his side beat Wycombe 2-0 in the play-off final at Wembley at the end of the 2021/22 campaign to seal their progress to the Championship.
Their success in League One last season was underpinned by sporting director Kristjaan Speakman’s superb work in the transfer market in the windows leading up to the final.
The ex-Birmingham man brought in the likes of Ross Stewart, Alex Pritchard, Dennis Cirkin, and Jack Clarke to bolster the side and they all played their part in leading the team back to the second division.
Another signing Speakman struck gold with was the arrival of Danny Batth from Stoke City. The central defender was brought in from the Championship side in January 2022 to improve the team heading into the second half of the third-tier season.
Has Danny Batth been a great signing?
Then-manager Lee Johnson hailed the signing, saying: “Danny is a player that I’ve tried to sign a couple of times before, so it’s third time lucky. We have some good characters already in place at the football club and you are always looking to nurture leadership qualities, but Danny’s come ready-made. A dominant centre back, he has a great personality and I think he will have really positive effect on and off the pitch.”
The defensive machine made an instant impact at the Stadium of Light as he averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.10 across 12 League One matches for the Black Cats, winning a whopping 70% of his individual duels. Only Pritchard (7.12) and Stewart (7.25) averaged higher ratings within the squad and this proves that he was one of the top performers on the road to promotion.
Starting off easy… who was Sunderland’s top scorer in 2021/22?
He has now handled the step up to playing at a higher level as he has caught the eye whilst playing for Tony Mowbray’s side. Journalist Josh Bunting has described him as “immense” and claimed that he is going “under the radar” this season with his performances at the back.
The central defensive titan has played every single minute of the club’s 20 Championship matches this season and has been a rock – winning 66% of his duels and making 4.0 clearances per game.
Batth is a consistent and solid centre-back who has dominated opposition forwards since arriving at the club from Stoke and has been a key player for the side ever since he made his debut, which shows that Speakman struck gold by signing the experienced enforcer in January.