Not only did they lift the EFL Trophy at Wembley on Sunday, but following last night’s victory over Accrington Stanley, they find themselves sitting just five points off the top of the table with two games in hand on league leaders Hull City.
It’s a testament to just how good a job Johnson has done, considering they were nine points off the top before he took over and had something of a problem when it came to winning at the national stadium.
And as heard on the BBC 5 Live Football Daily podcast, Paul thinks that the job he has done in transforming the club since his appointment in December has more than justified the club’s decision to appoint him, although there is still work to be done.
He said: “If you look back at some of the managers they’ve had – Simon Grayson and co – the talk has always been the one manager that’s going to turn it around because they’ve been in freefall for years. And it feels that Lee Johnson may be that man. The question is, is he going to take them up automatically and challenge Hull and Peterborough for one of those two automatic spots?”
Do you think Johnson will lead Sunderland to promotion?
TIF Thoughts on Aaron Paul’s comments regarding Lee Johnson’s job at Sunderland…
Johnson certainly came into the job with a bit of a reputation following the impressive work he had done at Bristol City, and given the slew of managers that Sunderland have gone through trying to steady the ship, they have needed that little bit of stability to help push them in the right direction – and based on the first few months, they’ve certainly found it.
But with this now being their third year in this division, for a club of their size, you feel that he needs to get them back up this year before his work can be quantified as a success in any way. Otherwise, he could go the same way as Jack Ross, who showed some progress when he took them to the play-off final, but ultimately found himself out of a job soon after.