SUNDERLAND manager Phil Parkinson believes Swindon Town can be ‘exposed’ at the back and is planning to send his team out to play on the front foot in today’s League One clash at the County Ground.

The Black Cats have made a decent start to the campaign having picked up two wins and two draws from their opening four games – and as a result, the Mackem club sit in 7th.

With a free weekend giving the Sunderland manager the chance to view Town in the flesh last Saturday, Parkinson believes he has gained a proper understanding of the Wiltshire outfit’s strengths and weaknesses following the 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon.

He said: “I saw Swindon last weekend and they were perhaps unlucky not to get something from the game (against Wimbledon).

“They’re a good football team, they take risks at the back and they’ll look to play out from the back.

“At times they can play through teams - which they certainly did in the second half against Wimbledon - but at other times they can be exposed as well.

“We’ve got to look at both sides of the games and look at how we can hurt them in terms of attacking for us, and defensively what we need to do to make sure we maintain our solid start to the season.”

Though Sunderland have started very well defensively in their third consecutive season in League One, one slight worry for Parkinson would be the lack of goals his team has managed to score.

The Black Cats’ boss is not hitting the panic button just yet, however, and says as long as his team can maintain their intensity in games, 1-0 victories will do him just fine for the remainder of the season.

Parkinson said: “In games, both home and away, it’s important to be able to create our own intensity.

“You’ve got to be careful that the games don’t lull into a pre-season or testimonial feel.

“I’ve had the opportunity to watch a few games of our upcoming opposition at their respective grounds, and the teams that can build up an intensity both on and off the ball are the ones who are getting success.

“I feel like when we’ve done that, we’ve been at our best.

“Yes, the supporters help create an atmosphere and help pump the adrenaline through the players’ bodies, but we’ve got to find a way to replace that.

“I think, in the main, we’ve done that well so far.”

Join Adver Sport for live coverage of Swindon Town v Sunderland in League One from 1:55pm this afternoon.