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But while the Black Cats are plying their trade in League One, the financial boost they could receive from the cup competitions shouldnt be dismissed.
As executive director Charlie Methven pointed out, Sunderland could significantly benefit if Jack Ross side are successful in the FA Cup or Checkatrade Trophy this campaign.
“These things do start to matter, including things like whether you’re going to get on TV or not,” said Methven.
“That’s the reality once you’re outside of the Premier League and your revenue base is something like £20million, which is actually pretty high.”
Sunderland travel to Port Vale in the FA Cup first round on Sunday (2:30pm kick-off), and will pocket £36,000 if they progress.
The Black Cats will also gain extra funds for the game being broadcast live on BT Sport 1, with both clubs receiving £75,000 as a result.
It is the first time in three decades that the Black Cats will enter the competition at the first round stage, and the rewards for reaching the third round could be valuable.
Not only would Sunderlands prize money rise to £54,000, but they could also draw a top-flight opponent and clinch a lucrative televised fixture.
Adam Matthews has been nominated for the Bristol Street Motors PFA Fans Player of the Month award for October.
The Black Cats have not budgeted for success in either competition and while promotion is very much the priority, Charlie Methven admits that good performances in both can be a very welcome bonus in the clubs battle for greater financial stability.
Sunderland now see cup competitions as revenue-raisers, as well as a shot at glory
The Wales international, who signed for the club from Celtic in 2015, has been ever-present in Jack Ross starting XI this season, making 12 appearances in Sky Bet League One.
Sunderlands brilliant October sees Jack Ross nominated as League One manager of the month
Sunderland were unbeaten in October, with the Lads picking up 13 points from a possible 15, while also defeating Carlisle United in the Checkatrade Trophy.
With four clean sheets in their last four games, the Black Cats defence has played a pivotal role in a six-game winning run that has taken the club to second in the table.
Matthews started in each of those games alongside Tom Flanagan, Reece James, Jack Baldwin, with the quartet providing immense protection to Jon McLaughlins goal.
Plymouth Argyles Freddie Ladapo, Oxford Uniteds Simon Eastwood and Tony McMahon, Barnsleys Brad Potts and Rochdales Ian Henderson have also been nominated.