AS the calls for Phil Parkinson to be sacked as Sunderland manager intensify after winning just two of his opening 11 matches in charge, midfielder Max Power thinks the extra time on the training ground before a trip to Gillingham could be just what is required.

Power accepts that is probably not what the disgruntled fans want to hear, but having been asked to face the media after Tuesday’s woeful 2-1 home defeat to Burton Albion he has delivered his assessment of the troubles facing the Black Cats.

He does not feel the situation is insurmountable either, believing that Sunderland can still find a new gear to get going again after going from one new low to the next seemingly every week at the moment.

Parkinson, who does have a track record of delivering in League One, has not been able to give Sunderland the lift that was required after the sacking of Jack Ross. His hopes seem to rest on reaching January, when he has been promised money, but the way things are going that could be too late.

The former Bradford and Bolton boss came under fire from the fans on Tuesday when they shouted “you’re getting sacked in the morning" with the club’s owner Stewart Donald – who himself is now being singled out for criticism – sat in the stands for one of the rare times this season.

As well as a barracking from the stands, former Sunderland defender Micky Gray has called for Parkinson to be replaced by former striker Kevin Phillips, who was in the running the last time as a No 2 to Nigel Pearson and on his own.

Power said: “It should hurt. It absolutely should hurt. But it's also part of football. That goes on all over the country, not just here. When you win games people are happy, and when you're not, criticism is going to come your way.

“What do you do? You can go two ways. You can let it affect you - duck and hide. You look at the player turnover here in the last few years and it's clearly affected a lot of players. People come and go. But I certainly don't want to leave this football club without achieving what I've set out to do, and that's get out of the division.

“At this moment I appreciate it looks a long way off, but things can change quickly in football. I'm a positive person. I'll keep going, and I'll do everything I possibly can. Hopefully we can turn the corner at some point.

“Tough times come in football and it's about rolling your sleeves up, showing a bit of quality and trying to get a bit of confidence back in the lads. You can see, it's flat at the moment and we lacked belief we could get back in the game at 2-1. It's a tough period, but what can you do but keep going?”

Power was in the team that lost to Burton and the defeat leaves Sunderland nine points adrift of the top two inn 11th spot. There is no game this weekend and Parkinson will hope to be still in a job when they head to Gillingham on December 7.

"It was a frustrating night and I can totally understand the fans' frustrations,” said Power. “It's a tough period in the moment. No matter what I say in the media, there's no words are going to help things at the moment. It's what we do on the pitch.

“I've been given the job to speak to the media, which I'm man enough to do. There's no hiding place in football. You have tough periods in football but it's up to us as players to hang in there and keep going. It's cliched stuff, but what can I say really at this point?"

Sunderland never looked comfortable after taking the lead against Burton and they have struggled to impress since Parkinson took the reins at the Stadium of Light.

“We're human beings,” he said. “We know we haven't kept enough clean sheets this season. We don't score often enough when we're on top. You're talking there about two important things in both boxes. Collectively, that's all of us. It's easy to point fingers and blame, but I don't like that culture.

“Collectively we have got to do better. We've got to find a way of keeping clean sheets. Doing so gives you a great platform. We can do it. We've gone to Sheffield United and Burnley and won.

“Albeit, they're cup games, and they're a different feel, but with the squad we have ... there's a lot of good players in this squad. I've had success in this division before and there's players in this squad that are above this level.

“Now, at this moment, fans will disagree and everyone will have their opinions, that's fine. But, ultimately at the moment we're in a tough period where there's no hiding place - we can't duck it. It's a case of rolling your sleeves up and trying to find ways of winning a football match."

Will the break help? Power added: “Possibly. We've not had a great deal of time on the training ground since the gaffer has come in. We've had a really hectic schedule. I suppose we can go away and work on what we want to do next game, Gillingham away.

“We've just been there and we know what's coming. It will be a difficult, scrappy game and we've got to try and find ways of winning those games. It's tough to digest at the moment, emotions are still raw, and everyone is hurting at the moment. We'll have to take the criticism that comes our way and then make sure we stand up and be counted.

"That was a really disappointed dressing room on Tuesday, as you can imagine. Words were spoken. For me, the top and bottom of it is, we've not kept enough clean sheets. We've had periods in games where we're on top, like the start of the second half, and we've got to put the knife in at that point and get in front.”