Steve Harper shares what he told frustrated Sunderland supporters at a recent event

Sunderland Gates

The Black Cats goalkeeper believes there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Steve Harper says he was asked by frustrated Sunderland fans at an event this week why the club is constantly embroiled in relegation battles.

It's four seasons since the Black Cats ended a campaign comfortably, with four different managers arriving since then.

In two of the previous three campaigns, the club has survived by three points following a late surge in the final few weeks, while in 2013-14 they overcame a worrying spell to escape the drop by five points - finishing as high as 14th that time.

And it's entirely conceivable that if Sunderland do survive this season, the margin between themselves and the bottom three will be even finer.

But Harper is confident it won't always be this way.

"We were at a fans event the other night and the fans were saying: 'Why is it every year?'" the veteran goalkeeper said on TalkSPORT's Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show earlier.

"I just said given my experience with the gaffer (Sam Allardyce), if he were to keep the club up this year then I don’t think they’ll be in this situation next year.

Harper - who spent 20 years up the road at Newcastle United - has worked under Allardyce previously, during his ill-fated spell at St. James' Park.

Allardyce replaced Dick Advocaat in October and has taken 23 points from 22 matches so far.

The Black Cats are currently 18th in the table, but have a game in hand over Norwich City, who occupy the place directly above them and are two points ahead.

If they were to go down this season, it would be the first time that Allardyce has ever been relegated from the Premier League.

Allardyce replaced Dick Advocaat in October and has taken 23 points from 22 matches so far. The Black Cats are currently 18th in the table, but have a game in hand over Norwich City, who occupy the place directly above them and are two points ahead. If they were to go down this season, it would be the first time that Allardyce has ever been relegated from the Premier League.

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