Billy Jones: Sunderland can challenge for promotion next season, says defender

Billy Jones playing for Sunderland
Billy Jones scored in Sunderland's 5-2 loss to Fulham in September

Sunderland defender Billy Jones believes the Black Cats could challenge for promotion in 2018-19 if they stay in the Championship this season.

The club were relegated from the Premier League last year and are currently bottom of the second tier, three points from safety.

"We're obviously disappointed with the season we've had so far," said Jones.

"This season is a transition, I feel if we stay up this year we'll be a force to be reckoned with next year."

Sunderland, who have won just four league games this season, replaced manager Simon Grayson with ex-Wales boss Chris Coleman in November.

"I've been in this situation previously in the Championship," 30-year-old Jones told BBC Newcastle's Total Sport.

"I was at Preston and we changed managers and it looked for certain we were going to go down. A manager came in, we survived that season and made the play-offs the season after."

Jones has made 16 appearances for Sunderland this campaign, but has not played in a winning side since a 3-1 victory at Norwich in August.

"We're obviously disappointed with our performances and our lack of consistency," he added.

"All you can do is concentrate on the next game. By winning the next game you forget about the performance previously."

Elsewhere, Sunderland have recalled goalkeeper Max Stryjek from his loan spell with League Two club Accrington Stanley.

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