Karl Jones Provides His Views On Sunderland's Season

Has Phil Barddsley been a tremendous disappointment this season? Come find out what Karl thinks here!

Well you know what we're doing now so there's little point in introducing it, but yes, hello everyone, it's time for me, Karl Jones to give you my views on Sunderland's 2011/12 season. I might be new to Roker Report, relatively speaking anyway, but it's been thoroughly enjoyable (so far anyway), and I'll be sticking around for the long term, so get used to it. Oh, and follow me on Twitter @KarlJones_

Anyway, enough about me, let's talk about the people who matter. Our beloved Sunderland AFC...

Player Of The Season?

Karl: Stephane Sessegnon - he's just so silky, isn't he? For the first time in a while we have a player who I genuinely look forward to watching. He's added goals to his game this season and him talking of ‘unfinished business' at Sunderland is encouraging, although a little ominous (thank you Darren Bent, you've scarred me for life).

Young Player Of The Season?

Karl: Jack Colback. As some of you may have noticed on the site, I'm really, REALLY impressed with him of late; he just reads the game so well. An honourable mention must go to James McClean but Colback's maturity and dependability in a number of positions edges it for me. He was outstanding in both games against Manchester City at left-back.

Best Signing Of The Season?

Karl: Martin O'Neill - I dread to think where we would have been without him.

Most Disappointing Player Of The Season?

Karl: Phil Bardsley - he's tried for long enough but he's not fooling me. For all his long-range efforts it would be nice to have a defender capable of stopping crosses coming into our box, or not having to make last-ditch clearances because he was playing everyone onside - I lost count of the amount of times that happened in the first half of Blackburn away alone.

Goal Of The Season?

Karl: Sessegnon vs Swansea - like Michael I was astonished to see it omitted from the nominations on the club's official website. It was such a grossly audacious effort, and against such a wonderful team (tm) to boot.

Game Of The Season?

Karl: Arsenal at home in the FA Cup - the performance, and the result, dared us to dream a little.

Who do you think Sunderland should be looking at buying this summer?

Karl: Matt Phillips, Blackpool. We've been linked with him in some shape or another, but what Sunderland has lacked this season is someone that can change the game from the bench. He's tricky, comfortable down either flank, and didn't do too badly last time he was in the Premier League. At 21, he's far from the finished article. Who knows, maybe O'Neill can do with him what he did with Ashley Young?

There's also talk of a clearout. Is there a player you think might not be as safe as they'd consider themselves?

Karl: I just wonder about Michael Turner. I like him as a player but John O'Shea and Wes Brown are cast-iron starters when fit, and Turner has the most selling potential of the three remaining senior centre-halves. If this ‘rebuild' is to happen, O'Neill is going to need money from somewhere.

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Karl: Fraizer Campbell's goal against Middlesbrough - his smile could have powered the City that night! I'm not afraid to admit I welled up a little after all that he has been through with injuries.

Do you think the improvement made under Martin O'Neill will continue into next season, and what should be the aim?

Karl: I think the initial rollercoaster SAFC embarked on when O'Neill took over has taken its toll somewhat. Granted, it was refreshing to see Sunderland name a consistent team for a prolonged period, but that has caught up with a few players. The summer will allow the players - and the manager - a time to reflect and recharge.

A top-eight finish will do nicely next year.

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