Sunderland’s woeful run of form will not stop them in their bid to finish in the top six, according to under-fire boss Phil Parkinson.

The former Bolton boss is under pressure from the fans after picking up just seven points in his last seven games in charge – their most recent result being a 1-0 defeat at Gillingham.

After 18 games, the Black Cats are 12th in the league and five points off the play-off places.

However, although some fans now think promotion is a slim possibility, Parkinson is hopeful he can turn the club’s fortunes around and help them climb the table towards the top six.

He told Chronicle Live: “It’s absolutely not [an irretrievable position],” he said. “We’ve got work to do with existing players. We’ve got players back on the training pitch, which I’m delighted to see. We’ve got work to do in January, we’ve got work to do with all departments of the club.

“The scouting department has been improved by the owner, we employed extra people to help with that, which I think is crucial.

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”They’ve invested a significant amount of money into that, and we’ve got to work together to try and get us back in the part of the table we need to be, which it which is a very top.”

Parkinson says he still has the backing of the board in spite of recent results and will be given funds in January to help build the squad.

He added: “I have spoke to the owner this week, and last week, he was up here, so we had a good chat, and we’re clear what we need to do and we’re working towards that.

“I’m in talks about January and progressing and improving things. And I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to do that.

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”Obviously we’re looking to improve the squad, both within and possibly from outside as well. And Stewart is 100% backing me to do that. He knows this squad needs to be improved, and he sees it clearly what we need to do.”