SWINDON Town manager Richie Wellens is backing Sunderland for an assault on promotion this season ahead of the two sides’ meeting in League One this afternoon.

Sunderland – who are currently spending their third consecutive season in English football’s third tier – are “a monster” in League One, according to the Town boss, and “should be nowhere near” the division they currently find themselves in.

Yet despite Wellens’ words, the two clubs are separated by just eight places in the table, and Swindon have a chance to inflict the Black Cats’ first league defeat of the season.

The Town boss insists his team will not be overawed by the size of the club they are facing, but conceded Sunderland heavily outweigh his own side in terms of experience.

Wellens said: “Sunderland are a massive football club who should be nowhere near League One.

“They’ve started this season OK, but if you look throughout their team, it’s experienced and it’s got players that have played at a higher level.

“You only have to look at the substitutes bench and the players that can’t get in the team – Aiden O’Brien is a striker who played in the Championship at Millwall.

“Will Grigg has won promotion from this level and played in the Championship, Danny Graham has played in the Premier League, and they paid a lot of money for Charlie Wyke – they’re a massive club.”

With a second failed attempt at promotion under their belt, Sunderland have been joined by Hull City, Wigan Athletic and Charlton Athletic as sides who feel they should be plying their trade at a higher level.

Wellens said there will be “seven or eight clubs” who will be extremely disappointed at having to spend a further season in League One, but the Mancunian does not expect the Black Cats to be one of those teams.

Wellens said: “Jack Ross was doing a really good job, but he just fell at the final hurdle, so that’s unlucky.

“I actually watched the game, and I thought they were really unlucky.

“When you get into this league, there are only two clubs that go up automatically and one through the play-offs.

“But if you look at this year, there are going to be seven or eight clubs that are disappointed not to go up.

“Given the profile of the clubs, a lot should be higher than League One.

“I still think Sunderland is a monster really in this league, they should be up there, and I’m sure they will be under Phil Parkinson come the end of the season.”