Ruiter HAS to start on Saturday
I was prepared to give Jason Steele the benefit of the doubt after his shaky start to life as a Sunderland player, but it would be completely unfair to not give Robbin Ruiter his first start in the Championship on Saturday based off his performance yesterday evening.
The Dutchman - signed from FC Utrecht on a free transfer this past summer - made four genuinely top class saves, one of which was from a penalty, and had it not been for him I sincerely doubt we would have won the game. He was terrific.
I feel far more comfortable with Ruiter between the sticks than I do Steele - he’s a match-winner and every aspect of his game suggests to me that he’ll be a success at this club, provided he’s given the chance to start games regularly in the Championship.
Djilobodji is hopeless
Contrary to popular belief it just isn’t my style to bury Sunderland players on this website, but I just cannot pass up the opportunity to talk about how awful Papy Djilobodji’s performance was last night.
The Senegal international was comfortably the worst player on the pitch, for both sides, and his comical brand of defending simply cannot be excused any longer.
It’s reasonable to expect that a player signed for £8m from the Premier League champions should be more than capable against a fourth division side, right?
Here’s hoping we find someone daft enough to take him off our hands before the transfer window closes. The sooner we move on from his reign of defensive terror the better.
Lynden Gooch grasped his chance with both hands
I wrote before yesterday’s game that it was important for those handed a start to take their chance ahead of Saturday’s match against Barnsley, and you could argue that no player did that more than Lynden Gooch.
The youngster was afforded a chance by Simon Grayson to play up front with Joel Asoro and was a constant thorn in Carlisle’s side, excellently teeing up Donald Love for our first before snatching our late winner with an absolutely fabulous finish that their keeper had no chance of saving.
It wasn’t just his goal or assist that impressed me, though. Gooch worked his socks off and ran himself into the ground, clearly playing in the knowledge that a man of the match performance would see him retain his place in the side ahead of this weekend.
Oviedo had a strong outing
Bryan Oviedo’s return to the side was capped off with a pleasing performance, one that will have satisfied Simon Grayson having had only the hapless Brendan Galloway to call upon since the season began.
Oviedo was solid defensively and his contribution in attack was refreshing - we’ll be a more fluid offensive outlet once he’s back in the side on a regular basis.