Sunderland beat strong opposition in Bradford City this afternoon in what was a thoroughly entertaining contest to watch.
Goals from Josh Maja, Jeremain Lens and Billy Jones put the lads well ahead before a penalty and a tap in later in the game ensured that the scoreline didn’t reflect too badly upon a Bradford side that were, in truth, largely awful.
New ‘keeper Ruiter is very good
Today we got our first glimpse of Dutch trialist Robbin Ruiter, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with what I saw.
Ruiter may have conceded two goals but the save he made five minutes from time was nothing short of excellent. On the back of some awful Papy Djilobodji defending, Bradford found themselves in a fantastic scoring position - only for Ruiter to deny with an outstanding close-range save.
Aside from that, his positioning looked good, his kicking and distribution was sound and he made a number of other crucial stops throughout the game that will have given Simon Grayson food for thought upon making a decision on whether or not to offer Ruiter a permanent contract.
Now he's taking photos with the fans. Nice fella pic.twitter.com/4x0RpKitby— Roker Report (@RokerReport) July 22, 2017
At the end of the match he gave his gloves to a young fan, stepped into the crowd to kiss his partner and then took photos with appreciative fans.
What a way to make your first impression!
Maja looks ready to go
Josh Maja has, so far this pre-season, been a shining example to all academy players about how to go about taking your chances in the first team when you are afforded the opportunity to impress the manager.
His all-round play today was just fantastic. He took his goal well which opened the scoring and held up the ball just like a forward far wiser and more experienced would have done.
He links up well with Jeremain Lens and has a level of understanding with the rest of the midfielders that his strike partner, James Vaughan, just hasn’t got quite yet.
We’re two weeks away from the season starting and I honestly wouldn’t be shocked to see his name on the team sheet once we face Derby County on the opening day.
Papy Djilobodji was woeful
You don’t realise just how good Tyias Browning and Lamine Kone are as a pair until Papy Djilobodji comes on to replace one them and put the shits up the rest of our back four.
Papy is incredibly athletic and does have some technique but as a defender I just have no idea how he ever made it at the top level. I’m not just talking about today, but in general - he’s got to get his act together if he’s going to amount to anything here, though I suspect he’ll be moved on at the first opportunity to do so.
It was a terrible mistake by Djilobodji that led to Robbin Ruiter making the outstanding save which has probably earned him a permanent deal, so I guess we have him to thank for that at least.
Vaughan needs a confidence boost
James Vaughan is a very likable player, and I have no doubt that he’ll prove to be a decent signing for us, but I feel he’s lacking something at the minute that is affecting his confidence - and that’s a goal.
His work rate is exemplary, he holds up the ball well and does his utmost to bring others into play, but if he could just get himself into goalscoring positions more often his all round game would probably improve.
We have two more pre-season games before the real action starts and I feel its essential that he gets himself a goal or two before we play Derby so that he’s going into our season opener on the right footing.