ALEX PRITCHARD admits it is impossible to ignore the “noise” that is building around Sunderland at the moment, but the midfielder is convinced he and his team-mates will turn things around.

The Black Cats headed into the international break on the back of a three-game losing run in League One, a sequence that has left them six points adrift of top spot.

There was a further setback last weekend when League Two Mansfield Town dumped Sunderland out of the FA Cup at the first-round stage, and while Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy dead rubber against Bradford City was largely an irrelevance, a reasonably strong Black Cats side was still unable to beat another set of opponents from the fourth tier.

Sunderland’s players were booed off at the Stadium of Light last weekend, having also been jeered from the field at both Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday, and while he might have a decade of experience under his belt, Pritchard accepts it is impossible to ignore the criticism of the last few weeks.

“I think it’s difficult not to hear the noise,” he conceded. “I think everyone understands as footballers. It doesn’t help massively, but we can understand it and I can certainly understand it from a fans’ perspective.

“Look, they have been incredible since I’ve been here, and it’s been amazing, but it’s been frustrating. Obviously, they are frustrated and we’re frustrated, but we have got to keep cool heads, keep working hard, and we are working really hard at the training ground. In the games, we left it all out on the pitch to try and get the win, but it didn’t happen.”

With no game this weekend because of international call-ups, Lee Johnson’s side will return to action when an improving Ipswich Town visit the Stadium of Light a week tomorrow.

That game marks the start of another busy week that will also see the Wearsiders travel to Shrewsbury and Cambridge, and Pritchard maintains it will not take much for fortunes to change.

“It’s a tough moment for us, of course it is,” he said. “But it’s not all doom and gloom. Obviously, we understand where we are and the situation we are in, but we have to turn it around. We just have to stick together and keep going.”