Another week, another defeat. Even when changing leagues, changing managers and changing personnel things appear to remain the same at Sunderland AFC.
I wrote in my diary entry before the game on Saturday that the excuses being made for why we are playing so badly had to end, and that losing to Sheffield United just was not an option. Part of me knew when writing that what was probably going to come - the fact of the matter is that there are many teams in this division that are more well-rounded and prepared for the rigours of Championship football than we are. Results like the one on Saturday - and the ones against Leeds and Barnsley - will undoubtedly become more frequent as the season goes on, because it’s completely unreasonable to expect that you can overhaul a team on a limited budget in one transfer window and they’ll be able to perform functionally for any sustained period of time.
And I feel mad at myself for thinking, at the start of the season, that we’d be capable of anything other than performances such as the one witnessed at the weekend. Forgive me if you feel I’m being overly-dramatic, but this is as bad as it has been in quite some time at Sunderland. Simon Grayson was not given the money he needed to properly strengthen his squad and as such we’ve recruited many players that, for one reason or another, were not wanted by the clubs we got them from. Expecting these players to be able to make a meaningful, instant impact was unrealistic. And, on top of that, I’m beginning to have doubts about the manager’s tactical ability. He’s already starting to look out of his depth.
There’s a small part of me that feels... hopes... that this run of form won’t continue but it’s clear that promotion - perhaps even a top half finish - is completely out of the picture, if you didn’t know that already. In fact, what we’ve seen from our recent performances suggests that, if anything, we’ll more than likely end up battling against relegation again, albeit a league down from the one we usually struggle in. Depressing.
As an aside - can we not send Brendan Galloway back to Everton? Serious question. I’ve tried to be patient but the lad is absolutely hopeless and is the cause of much of our defensive issues.
Every single team we face targets him as our weak link and everything seems to come down his side - I’m starting to lose count of the amount of goals that we’ve conceded so far this season that have come from his area of the pitch. He’s struggling with confidence, and perhaps posts like this won’t help, but we can’t afford passengers and regardless of his age, we have to be ruthless when judging his ability.
He makes Andrea Dossena look like Roberto Carlos.
Tomorrow Nottingham Forest rock up at the Stadium of Light and they’ll be relishing the opportunity to take us on, having undoubtedly seen our last two home performances. I know they’ve lost their last two, but I honestly don’t think that counts for much when we’re playing as badly as we are currently.
The crowd will be anxious from the off and Forest have capable ball players - well, at this level - in midfield that will look to frustrate us at every opportunity. Apparently David Vaughan is playing really well for them at the minute, so expect him to run the show and embarrass us further, particularly if we play anything like we did on Saturday.
This club, man. Ugh. It’s amazing how much their ineptness affects my outlook on everything. Football turns me in to a bipolar, judgmental mess at the best of times and losing for the fourth game on the bounce might just send me over the edge.
You just know that I’ll be up aheight if we somehow manage to win - but such is life.