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Captain Fishpaste: “Sunderland have 99 problems, but a lack of good players ain't one”

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As Sunderland’s problems continue to mount, it should offer some solace at least that we have many players capable of performing well at this level - it’s about giving them time to gel.

Sunderland Unveil Callum McManaman Photo by Scott Heppell/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Supporting Sunderland is not easy. Good lord we all know that. As a club, they've made sure we know and understand that with what often looks like ruthlessly meticulous malice.

Personally, I don't see any genuine malice there. I don't think for one moment Ellis Short is taking money out of the club, I don't think Martin Bain is deliberately trying to plunge everyone he sees into poverty because he's a sadistically thrifty wrong'un.

To be honest, I just see a club with a lot of problems. They only have themselves to blame, but I think it was all done innocently. Sometimes, usually, solving problems demands sacrifice and solutions demand patience, and that's where we are as a club.

But one problem we don't have is a lack of good footballers at the club. And that's a good place from which to start a recovery.

Bury v Sunderland - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

I know, I know, the squad is short on quality up front. We all know that. But I said it was a good squad, not a perfect one. Every squad in this division is short somewhere.

But we have to look past that, and not let it dominate the analysis.

And if you look past it, there is actually a lot to be encouraged about.

When was the last time, for example, a Sunderland side had three players you'd back to beat defenders? In Aidan McGeady, Jonny Williams, and Callum McMananman, we have players in the team that want to take on their man.

Factor Duncan Watmore in there too, possibly even as a solution to the striker situation, and there is actually a fair bit of ability there. I'm not sure you'd swap it for many, if any, other attacks in the division from a talent point of view.

Whether Lee Cattermole and Didier Ndong can play together, I don't know. They could be too similar with neither able to dominate the ball. But again, that's a nice problem to have; which of your two good players do you pick for the same role?

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

You could always try Darron Gibson alongside who, admittedly, wouldn't offer much mobility but will certainly distribute possession better than them. It will also be interesting to see what Paddy McNair offers too when he returns.

These are all good players we are talking about. Premier League players? Not many. But very good for this level.

What's needed is some rhythm and understanding on the pitch. Partnerships and systems need to develop, confidence needs to grow.

But the building blocks are there. They just need to be assembled, and hopefully that will come in time.

No, Sunderland have 99 problems, at least, but a lack of good players ain't one.