THEY might have shipped five goals at home last Saturday, but Sunderland boss Jack Ross has told his players to take solace from the fact that their automatic-promotion hopes are still in their own hands.

The Black Cats trail second-placed Barnsley by two points ahead of this weekend’s Easter double-header, but while the Tykes only have four games still to play, Sunderland still have five matches to come.

If they win all five, they are guaranteed to finish in the top two, so while they might only have taken a point from back-to-back home games against Burton and Coventry, Ross would still not swap Sunderland’s position for that of any of their promotion rivals barring league leaders Luton Town.

He said: “The season has been emotionally draining for everybody involved in the club because of the journey we’ve been on in these last eight or nine months.

“But if you strip it back and look at what lies ahead and what we could possibly achieve, the truth is that we have five games left, and if we win them, we achieve what we set out to do.

“The margin for error has obviously got less because of the last couple of games, but such is the nature of the season, not just for us but also for the other teams at the top, then I would imagine there will still be some ups and downs and twists and turns over these remaining fixtures.”