Sunderland are set to play host to Ipswich at the Stadium of Light tonight in a game which pits two promotion rivals against one another.


Phil Parkinson’s side go into the game in sixth place, four points behind second-placed Ipswich, but with a game in hand on Paul Lambert’s side.



Elliott is of the view that Ipswich will be among the teams that vie for promotion along with Sunderland and the 36-year-old believes a strong win against the Tractor Boys at home would send a strong message to the Black Cats’ other promotion rivals.


The ex-Sunderland star went further and stressed that tonight’s home game will be a litmus test for Sunderland’s automatic promotion credentials as bagging three points against Ipswich at home is a must for Parkinson’s side to directly leap back to the Championship. 



“All in all, Saturday [against Gillingham] was an important win, but the level of performance will have to be lifted again to beat Ipswich on Tuesday”, Elliott wrote in his Sunderland Echo column.


“They have started the season strong and will fancy their chances.



“If Sunderland do win the game it will send a strong message out that the squad have the capabilities of beating their promotion rivals.


“To go up automatically this will be needed frankly, especially at home.”


Only goal difference separates Ipswich from the top of the table, but Sunderland can move within one point of them with a win at the Stadium of Light.