A wind-ravaged stalemate at Oakwell saw the Reds maintain their four-point advantage over the third-placed visitors, who have a game in hand.
Barnsley can put further pressure on Sunderland by claiming a derby victory in Fridays televised game at Doncaster Rovers with the Black Cats welcoming Walsall the following day.
Adam Matthews reflects on his return to the Sunderland team and a challenging clash with Barnsley
Stendel, whose side extended their unbeaten league home record under his watch to 19 games – equalling a post-war record of 23 league matches without defeat at Oakwell in the 0-0 draw – said: I think the draw helps us more than Sunderland.
I am not sure that (leaders) Luton will win all their games, but we have our chances. While we keep the gap to a minimum we have all the chances to be promoted directly. That is the goal.
Stendels counterpart Jack Ross also derived satisfaction from his side extending their own unbeaten sequence to 18 matches.
Sunderland and Barnsley are yet to sample a league loss in 2019, alongside Luton whose last league defeat was 3-2 at Oakwell in mid-October.
Luton hold a five-point advantage over Barnsley and a nine-point lead over Sunderland, but Ross still believes that anything canhappen between now and the end of the season.
It may be an overused cliché, but it was more important to not lose Tuesdays clash than to win it, considering the circumstances.
We have kept ourselves in it and are there or thereabouts and there are a lot of games to go and lots of points to play for from now on in.
I said before the game that the three teams at the top of this league have had unbelievable seasons in what they have achieved and to come to a club who had not lost at home was not easy – far from it.
Attention switches to Barnsleys short trip to the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow evening and despite the relatively quick turnaround, Stendel insists that his side will be ready for the challenge – and firmly focused on ending a keynote week with an important win.
He added: It is a derby and the first game at Oakwell was a difficult one. Doncaster played very well and we know it.
Matthews had lost his place in the side due to the impressive form of Luke ONien in an unfamiliar right-back berth.
An injury to Reece James gave the Welshman his chance on the other flank, and the 27-year-old stood firm during an immensely testing first half.
Sunderland came through and improved in the second half, Max Power and Lee Cattermole going close to a winner.
Matthews says he has no issue with having had to wait for his return to the side and will draw the positives ahead of the visit of Walsall this weekend.
Weve got a good squad here and theyre doing really well so I had to wait for my chance, he said.
I came back in on Tuesday and it was a difficult game to play football in but I thought I did all right. The most important thing is the team and we didnt lose and we kept a clean sheet.
We wanted to win the game but we didnt lose and we kept a clean sheet, so that was a positive. Well take a draw.
It felt like we were getting camped in because every time we cleared the ball it was coming back to us.
In the conditions its not a bad result for us. We kept a clean sheet and it keeps our unbeaten run going.