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What does Stockdale have to lose? Sunderland must at least try & take the game to Millwall!

With Sunderland now at their lowest point in a considerable amount of time, what harm would it do if Robbie Stockdale tried to be ambitious with his tactics and team selection tomorrow when we face Millwall at the Stadium of Light?

Livingston v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

If recent goings on haven’t already given you a reality check about just how tragic a situation our club find themselves in currently, then the severity of what a bad result this weekend could mean should serve as a stark reminder.

An unwanted, horrendous statistic hangs over us like a dark cloud.

Sunderland will become the first league team in the history of English football to fail to pick up a win in TWENTY (yes... twenty) consecutive home games in all competitions should we fail to win against Millwall tomorrow afternoon at the Stadium of Light. Embarrassing.

Plus, on top of that, it’s been almost two weeks since we last played and yet we’re still no further forward in our search for Simon Grayson’s successor, or so it would seem.

We’re bottom of the league, the teams above us are starting to pick up wins and momentum, and crowds are continuing to dwindle by the week.

Sunderland Unveil New Manager - Martin O'Neill Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

To say that this club is at its lowest ebb would probably be an understatement - but, with the international break now over with we have to at least attempt to set all of that aside and concentrate on what is going to surely be a mammoth week ahead.

Despite my reservations over just how competent Martin Bain actually is in his role as CEO, I don’t foresee that we’ll go into next weekend’s match with Burton Albion still managerless.

But, with games against Millwall and Aston Villa to take in over the coming days the players have to concentrate on getting us out of this horrendous mess that they’ve gotten us into.

Particularly tomorrow. Millwall are a rugged, horrible team and they will be relishing the opportunity to rough up this squad of pushovers in front of a fed-up and beleaguered home crowd.

I’m expecting loads of crosses into the box, loads of dangerous set pieces and loads of energy - it’s safe to say that we’ll likely be up against it right from the off, because that is exactly what Neil Harris’ side are about.

Brentford v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images

This is unfortunately the type of game we could really do without at the minute, but the fixture list is unforgiving and Robbie Stockdale has to pick a team capable of getting us a result. Another loss would just be catastrophic.

What we cannot afford is for Stockdale to select a side as ill-equipped as the team he picked when we visited Middlesbrough.

Deploying a central midfield pairing as nonathletic and slow as Lee Cattermole and Darron Gibson just won’t do, even despite the fact Didier Ndong isn’t expected to play.

We need to compete, of course, but how about we try and keep the ball down for once and play a bit? With the likes of Jonny Williams, Elliot Embleton, Lynden Gooch, Aiden McGeady and Lewis Grabban at our disposal, we could move the ball around and play some decent stuff if we really want to.

I think back to something that James Lowson wrote on Roker Report earlier this week, where he suggested that the next Sunderland manager needs to not fall into the same trap that David Moyes and Simon Grayson did tactically, where both men preferred to adopt a ‘defence first, attack second’ mentality.

It didn’t work - we’re terrible at playing defensive football, yet have one of the best rosters of attacking players in the entire division. The balance just isn’t right.

Robbie Stockdale likely has one, maybe two chances to pick the side before a proper manager eventually arrives.

What does he have to lose in maybe picking an adventurous side that will look to go to Millwall and take the game by the scruff of the neck, keeping the ball on the floor and at least attempting to take the game to our opposition?

Even being able to see some semblance of a plan, of an ethos, would be a start.

In truth, I’m tired of watching the same players picked week after week despite playing poorly. I’m tired of not being able to connect to the players on the pitch. I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of moaning.

Give me something to cheer about lads, eh?

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