While the Black Cats’ win at the Kassam Stadium was played behind closed doors, a number of supporters took advantage of the fact that one side of the stadium remains empty.

They came armed with step-ladders, flags and a van in order to get a look in at the action – and were rewarded for their dedication as Luke O’Nien and Lynden Gooch handed the Wearsiders a deserved victory.

So what did the dressing room make of this committed travelling support?

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“It doesn’t surprise me,” laughed Bailey Wright after the game.

“We’ve got some dedicated supporters here at the club and it’s a massive fan base, isn’t it?

“Hopefully it won’t be long until they’re back on the touchline screaming, shouting and enjoying it.

“Of course you do miss it [fans in the ground],” he added.

Sunderland fans look over the boundary fence at Oxford United

“It can really be the difference and you can see games shift sometimes in terms of atmosphere – for the better and for the worse.

“We much prefer it when we have our fans at home, and the fans we bring away make a big difference.

“You do miss that, of course you do, but it’s another challenge and we just have to get on with it and make sure we’re there for each other, keep each other organised and motivated, because you can’t rely on that atmosphere to pick you up or keep you going.

“You’ve got to get the best out of each other.

“Hopefully it’s not too much longer, but who knows? The world has strange stuff going on and we’re just fortunate we can be back playing football and back winning games and enjoying it.”

Sunderland’s fixtures will be played behind closed for the foreseeable future, with this week set to be a crucial one for the government’s plans to begin a phased return of supporters to elite sporting events from October 1.

Seven EFL games hosted up to 1,000 fans on Saturday in another step towards fans returning to stadia.

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