GRANT LEADBITTER has called for “calm heads” despite Sunderland suffering one of the most remarkable defeats of the season as they lost out in a nine-goal thriller to Coventry City.

The Black Cats were beaten 5-4 at the Stadium of Light, with the result seeing them drop out of the automatic promotion positions.

They trail second-placed Barnsley by two points with five games to play, but a top-two finish is still in their own hands as they have a game in hand on the Tykes and Leadbitter insists this is not a time to start panicking.

“We’ve got five games to go, and we know what we have to do,” said the Sunderland midfielder. “We really do have to stay calm in situations like this. I’ve been here before, I’m an experienced player, and it’s all about getting our heads down and staying calm because there’s a long, long way to go.

“There’ll be plenty of twists and turns, but there’s no doubt about the character we have here. The club has taken a battering (in recent seasons), the players have taken a battering, but this is a strong dressing room. It’s about everyone staying together and being right at it.”