WHEN Phil Parkinson was paraded in front of the media at Sunderland’s Academy of Light on Thursday afternoon, he was left to deliver a solo performance. At such occasions it is common for the new appointment to be flanked by the club’s owner or at least a member of the board.

Not this time, neither the club’s owner Stewart Donald nor even director Charlie Methven was sat beside him on the top table to face a media suite that was packed like it often used to be in the Premier League era. Parkinson will soon find it will not last.

The 51-year-old will not care too much about that. After delivering his polished display on day one of his Sunderland tenure, there is no disputing this is another man who has turned up on Wearside believing he knows what he is doing. He didn’t need any help from above.

There has been plenty criticism of Donald’s decision to turn to Parkinson from sections of supporters, who were looking for a statement of intent following the decision to sack Jack Ross. Rather than excite with someone like Kevin Phillips or Roy Keane, or turn to a name like Nigel Pearson, it is the more pragmatic Parkinson that was sworn in.

Is he the right man for the job? Time will tell. Does he boast the track record to suggest he can take Sunderland back to the Premier League? Undoubtedly.

There will have been financial aspects to the decision to appoint Parkinson too, after it emerged he agreed a two-and-a-half year contract believed to be worth around £200,000-a-year – which is still higher than what League One clubs have tended to pay – when others such as Pearson could have demanded more.

That is by the by now. After considering the likes of Gareth Ainsworth, Nigel Clough, Daniel Stendel, Paul Cook and Pearson, Parkinson is the man Donald and Co turned to. He survived the shortlist being cut, a second interview and did so in a manner to suggest he knows exactly what to do.

“I was being myself in the interviews, that’s the key,” said Parkinson. “I told the truth, expressed the knowledge I have of the division and from what I have seen. Some managers might want to do PowerPoint presentations, I prefer to talk.

“I was telling them how I feel I can get the extra out of the team. I am not saying I went in confident I would get the job, but I was confident I knew what I was talking about. I enjoy the interview process as they are good experiences.”

Parkinson has delivered success at Colchester, Charlton, Bradford and Bolton. In fact, the only period he didn’t enjoy was when he was given around six months in charge at Hull City. In another six months he would hope to have Sunderland occupying an automatic promotion spot.

Ahead of his first game in charge of Sunderland at second placed Wycombe, where Ainsworth will come up against him just days after he had his own interviews for the Black Cats job, there is an acceptance opponents will be up for it.

“When you come to a big club as the opposition you expect to raise your game,” said Parkinson. “We have to expect that. We have to go up another level to do that. We have championship ability. There is no doubt about that. We have to make sure when teams run, sprint and tackle when they lose the ball we are also doing those things. If we do that with the extra quality we have then I expect us to win the games.

“I think everybody knows that Sunderland is a Premier League club in terms of everything about it. The stature, the training facilities, the stadium, the fanbase. That’s where it should be. As we know, it’s not a given and you’ve got to work exceptionally hard to achieve that again.”