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ITHICS Fanzine: Chris Coleman, just like Allardyce, needs patience and support to make this work

In the month that preceded Sam Allardyce’s famous January transfer window we lost all five games. Chris Coleman is doing a good job, but the real fruits of his labour won’t become apparent until this squad is more in his ‘mould’.

Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round Replay - Coventry City v Blackburn Rovers - Ricoh Arena Photo by David Davies - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Our New Year’s Day result at home to fellow strugglers Barnsley was a little unexpected, given that Chris Coleman has driven up expectations a little since his arrival.

But, although the team defended resolutely, the slip up which let in central defender Ethan Pinnock for his second goal in two games left us without a plan B after the costly injury of the rejuvenated Darren Gibson.

Once Barnsley had scored, all they had to do is sit back and absorb the limited pressure we applied, leaving us vulnerable at the back.

While undoubtedly the appointment of Coleman can only be viewed as a positive and has sent the club in the right direction, it is clearly going to take more than just a new manager to solve our problems.

He needs time to put his mark on the team. He needs to have players available to him that he believes can work within his system and can respond well to his ideas.

Sunderland v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship
Browning looking good, but ultimately to little effect
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Now that the January transfer window has opened, and we can finally start to make some changes to our playing squad, we may see some movement in and out of the club.

Some supporters have been excited by the prospect of having Head of Recruitment Neale McDermott working behind the scenes, mainly as he has solid connections within which could prove useful as we look to strengthen the pool of players at Coleman’s disposal.

But, while the current trend of two steps forward one back is frustrating, I firmly believe that we are doing much better now than had we stuck with Simon Grayson.

Even under our last ‘successful’ manager, Sam Allardyce, we lost all five games in December 2015, leaving the team deep in relegation trouble. Coincidentally, that changed with the opening of the transfer window, with his acquisition of the three K’s (Khazri, Koné & Kirchhoff) transforming our season. Hopefully, the transfer window can be another catalyst to success this time too.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League
Khazri celebrates opening the scoring with a wonder goal v Chelsea in May 2016
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Realistically, the best we can hope for in the coming weeks is that we manage to ship out Lamine Koné for a decent fee, and then spend what we can recoup on some decent youngsters.

The worst case, however, is that nothing happens and Coleman has to reshuffle his pack - maybe he can get Koné playing again; like Allardyce did.

But, whatever he does, I think I can safely say that he has the full support of the fan base. Slowly but surely attendances at the Stadium of Light are ticking up, with the New Year’s Day crowd coming in at 28,311 - a small but notable improvement.

The completion of a league double against us by two of South Yorkshire’s ‘finest’ is frustrating, but the away smash and grab at Nottingham Forest between those games should give us hope - and we know what that means!