IF Sunderland’s sole purpose is to get out of League One and into the Championship this season, they could have appointed nobody better than Phil Parkinson.

I can accept Wanderers fans complaining about the team’s style of play after promotion in 2016/17 and especially last season when relegation loomed from Christmas onwards.

I can accept those who point out Parkinson’s relatively poor record in the second tier, even if the list of mitigating circumstances is as long as my arm.

What puzzles me is that any of the above should be a concern to Wearsiders who, after years of serious under-performance, two relegations, and a massive missed opportunity last season, can now seriously worry about aesthetics.

There are no guarantees in football and Parkinson won’t get much of a bedding-in period from a fanbase which is notoriously demanding.

But I can see why the club’s owners have played the odds and appointed someone who has shown consistently he can win games at this level. In all, he has taken charge of 347 games in League One, winning 147 (42.3 per cent) and taking an average of 1.58 points per game.

Extrapolate that over the club’s next 35 games and it brings them to 77 points, or roughly play-offs, so the pressure is on.

The football was direct at Bolton. As with any style, the complaints only really arrived when the results failed to appear. And that applies to any manager, whether you are Parkinson or Pep Guardiola.

That was not to say life at Wanderers was without entertainment. Zach Clough, Sammy Ameobi and Fil Morais gave us plenty of thrills and spills before that team was broken up in January and Parkinson had to start again.

Sunderland have had their problems. We all watched the Netflix special. Compared to the war zone he walked into in the summer of 2016 at Bolton, though, the Stadium of Light is an oasis of tranquillity.

Looking in from the outside, a glance at Sunderland’s record makes you wonder why they dispensed with Jack Ross. Only two defeats, against Lincoln and Peterborough, and the club sat just outside the play-offs in ninth, eight points off the top with two games in hand. Hardly crisis point.

Parkinson gets a chance to work with Charlie Wyke – the striker he pursued for so long at Bolton – and also full-back Conor McLaughlin, who had been a target before he signed for Millwall.

There is an ongoing ‘takeover situation’… Words that will put a shiver down Parkinson’s spine.

But unless Ken Anderson is spotted strolling up Roker Beach, I would imagine he will take it all in his stride.

Towards the end of last season, Parkinson wore a continually haunted expression. Then again, I defy anyone to work for three years under those circumstances and look their best possible selves.

He felt cheated by his employers, and indeed the administration, the continual battles, the let-downs, the constant search for reliable information on the takeover. His was way beyond a normal manager’s role.

The person who smiled back at press yesterday at the Stadium of Light was more like the one I met in 2016, promising to restore order and get the basics right.

It will be interesting to see whether Parkinson – who has already brought in Steve Parkin as his assistant – will reach out to the rest of his backroom at Bolton.

Fitness coach Nick Allamby lives in the North East, so not beyond the realms of possibility. He would be a big miss, having worked so hard to keep a slender squad on the pitch as often as possible.

Goalkeeper coach Lee Butler – owner of the world’s strongest handshake – is another of Parkinson’s trusted allies and a man who has done terrific work, often under the radar.

Top physio Matty Barrass also came from Bradford City with the group but is based in the North West, so perhaps less likely to fancy a wholesale move.

Parkinson, and Parkin, deserve the chance to work at a stable football club where they can be judged fairly on what their team does on the pitch. For a good few years the pair did that at Bradford, and though there was some faux bitterness when they left for Bolton, the majority of Bantams fans seemed to recognise their role in turning around that club’s fortunes at the time. Indeed what has happened since at Valley Parade underlines the point about solidity.

Barring Boxing Day, when Wanderers head up to the Stadium of Light, I wish them well.

Sunderland need to be promoted, pure and simple. Any arguments about the Championship and a step up in class can wait until May, when I fully expect Phil Parkinson to be holding a glass of promotion Champagne once again.