Newcastle United defender Isaac Hayden has told The Times that Sunderland will not get 40,000 fans for their home matches at the Stadium of Light in the Championship next season.
Sunderland will play in the Championship during the 2017-18 campaign after getting relegated from the Premier League.
The Black Cats are a massive club and have a huge fanbase, but Hayden, who can operate as a centre-back or as a defensive midfielder, believes that David Moyes’s side will fail to fill the stadium next season.
The 22-year-old has also claimed that Newcastle have the best fans in England.
“I don’t think there can be a question that they are the best fans in the country,” Hayden told The Times. “We have an average attendance of 51,000 for a second division team. I don’t believe anybody who gets relegated would get that.
“Look at Sunderland — would they have that loyalty? Even in the Premier League, when you watched [them at the Stadium of Light] there were red seats everywhere.
“I don’t think they will get 40,000 in the Championship when they don’t fill the stadium in the Premier League.”
Premier League hopes
Newcastle will play in the Premier League next season after winning the Championship title this campaign.
Rafael Benitez’s side will be aiming to push for a top-10 finish in the league during the 2017-18 campaign.
Sunderland will be aiming to end up in the top six of the Championship next season and stand a chance of bouncing straight back into the Premier League.
It will be tough for the Black Cats, but Moyes is a good manager, and he could do the job if he is backed in the summer transfer window.