STEVE Parkin believes there were signs that Sunderland are about to turn the corner in fighting back to claim a point against Simon Grayson’s Blackpool at the Stadium of Light.

Grayson was left frustrated not to have celebrated a win – something he failed to enjoy at the Stadium of Light during his time on Wearside before he was sacked in October 2017.

Blackpool took the lead inside four minutes when Matty Virtue-Thick curled a fine finish over goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin after Sunderland had failed to deal with a couple of deliveries into the area properly.

But Sunderland, now without a win in eight and sitting 12th in League One which equals the worst position the club has ever occupied, levelled when Charlie Wyke volleyed in his first since August from Chris Maguire’s corner.

“I didn’t get much stick this time, so that was alright,” said Grayson. “I turned right instead of left when I came in (dressing room).

“It has been nice to see staff who I didn’t get chance to see when I left but I was ushered away quickly that night. There aren’t many players still here, one of the players was sent home earlier in the week (Aiden McGeady)!

He added: “There were no issues with anything coming back here for me, the history. I wanted to come here and win a match like we did last weekend. Slightly disappointed we haven’t won a game to be honest, but we just didn’t do enough at the top end to try to get a second goal – particularly in the last 15 minutes or so as well when they had ten men.”

After Sunderland had levelled through Wyke, it had looked like they might go on and win it when Wyke headed another Maguire corner against the bar.

But with 16 minutes remaining George Dobson was dismissed. He was sent off for a tackle on Arnand Gnanuillet, having clashed with him at the end of the first half when they were both cautioned.

Parkinson was desperate for three points today after a week when he told star winger Aiden McGeady to look for a new club having become frustrated with certain things he has not made public. He has, though, now only won two of his first 13 matches in charge and Sunderland are 12th – equalling their worst placing ever.

Parkinson’s assistant Steve Parkin: “I am disappointed with the first four minutes, but we had a good reaction to conceding a goal.

“Body language is important, reactions are important and I am glad they took it on board today. If you go behind you need to see a reaction and we saw that. They didn’t let their heads go down. It was nice to see Charlie get a good goal as well.

“We showed a lot of character, the sending off was harsh. With the hindsight of seeing it again, it was harsh, I don’t see it as second yellow card. The lads got organised and made it difficult for Blackpool and we may have even sneaked it at the end.

“Without doubt we need to be positive and take on board the stuff we need to do and go into the next game positive, we have to make sure we have a good block of training between now and the next game.

“We have to make sure we drive ourselves where this club wants to be. We have the belief in the players after a few difficult weeks and results. We have to try to build on that.”

SUNDERLAND (3-4-2-1): J McLaughlin; Flanagan, Ozturk, De Bock; O’Nien, Power, Dobson, Hume; Watmore (Gooch 72), Maguire (Leadbitter 84); Wyke (Grigg 78). Subs (not used) Burge (gk), McLaughlin, McNulty, Lynch.

BLACKPOOL (4-3-2-1): Edwards; Turton, Tilt, Edwards, Husband; Feeney, Spearing, Virtue-Thick (Thompson 90); Delfouneso (Nuttall 81, Kaikai (Scannell 46); Gnanduillet. Subs (not used): Bushiri, Guy, Sims, McDonald.