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Fan Letters: “Crossing my fingers in the hope we can scrape by - Coleman’s the man to lead us!”

Roker Report reader Paul Cook is firmly behind the Sunderland manager - but concedes that he needs to be given time and help in order to push us towards survival. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - FA Cup - Third Round - Riverside Stadium Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have supported Sunderland AFC since I was a child, and now - at 62 – I am as disillusioned as many others.

I had moved back to the North East six years ago thinking that I would be able to attend more home games – initially I did, but rightly or wrongly I haven’t been this season or last.

Our problems have been well documented – Short and Bain have come in for considerable criticism, some of it justified, but I feel that the rotten core has been the playing squad.

For several years our Great Escape was down to them only getting their arses into gear at Easter – under Moyes their luck eventually ran out.

The vast majority are merely mercenaries clearly without a conscience – staff at the club (being paid a pittance compared to the player’s salaries) have been made redundant – and yet some of the players are still quite happy to collect their weekly £70,000 and in return do absolutely nothing.

If they had any pride, these multi millionaires would do the honourable thing and get their agent to organise a transfer, rather than bleed the club dry and see more staff made redundant.

Previous managers, notably Di Canio and Poyet made reference to something being wrong within the club – it is clear now, that it is player power – the tail wagging the dog.

I sense that Coleman and Bain are trying to move them out but other clubs are probably wise to let them rot where they are.

Several supporters had thought that Short selling up would be the answer, I think not – things will only improve once all of the bad apples have gone. I am not sure how much damage will be done and how far we will fall by then but it does not look promising.

Our only hope this season, seems to be if getting rid of these no-hopers can both reduce the wage bill by moving on and even better provide Coleman with some funds to improve the squad with players who want to be here if they were sold. With time running out until the transfer window closes, it does not look promising.

I was initially baffled that players like Borini, Lens and Khazri were allowed to go out on loan rather than be sold, but their contracted wages are probably greater than their potential transfer fees and as a short term fix it was prudent just to get them “off the books”.

The major criticism of our owner / the board is to allow the club to get in such a financial mess and for trying to match the “big clubs” – having seen the likes of Leeds, Blackburn, Portsmouth etc. do exactly the same, one would have hoped that we could have avoided the same trap.

Along with many others, I hope that we can avoid another bullet this season and that Chris Coleman can start next season in the Championship with a squad that want to play for our club.

Fingers crossed!

Alan Pieroni

Ed’s note: Just regarding your point on why we loaned out players in the summer - the belief is that it was done in order to ensure we have some income ahead of next season. We won’t have another Jordan Pickford to sell and as such this enables the club to bring in money at a later date.

Cardiff City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I wrote to Roker Report back in October suggesting we all get behind Simon Grayson and the lads as we battle our way up the table, but obviously the powers that be decided this was not the right approach and decided to relinquish SG from his position and appoint Chris Coleman - a great choice I may add.

At first glance it would appear that we have gone backwards with us now firmly rooted firmly to the bottom of the league but for those following the club know this is not the case even though recent games have been disappointing.

I could be in the minority here and I know at least two strikers are needed as soon as possible, Chris Martin who apparently could sign soon is a great choice in my opinion as he knows this division well… but I still think we need an experienced goalkeeper as a priority.

Before the season began I was quite vocal that a Shay Given, Rob Green type keeper would be essential for the team to do well this season and we have brought in two keepers who clearly aren’t good enough.

Ruiter seems more assured and vocal in the box where Steele better at long shots. Between them, they may make a half decent goalkeeper but individually they are both flawed. I would like to see Ruiter kept as back up working with our goalkeeping coaches to give him a chance to showcase his skills in the future. When we first signed Steele I couldn’t believe it! I assumed he was going to be a backup to an established goalkeeper. I genuinely believe that a great deal of our problems stems from our back line not having the confidence on our keeper.

For anyone who has played football at any level in defence, they will ultimately play better knowing that if they push up too far or if crosses are whipped in from free kicks or corners that their back is covered and that the keeper will be there to take charge. Our back line should have enough experience to be holding their own in this division but they are currently lost at sea!

So please Chris, have a word with Mr Short and Martin Bain and ask them to bring a decent keeper in before the January sales end as I firmly believe if this void isn’t filled we will be having a nice trip to Blackpool, Fleetwood and the like for a donkey ride and a kiss me quick hat!

Paul Cook

Ed’s note: I think that we have to stick with Ruiter until the end of the season. He’s not great and has a mistake in him but he’ll do for now - in the summer we can re-assess. I don’t think we’ll sign a keeper unless he has another shocker or two before the window closes and it forces Coleman to re-think his plans. They’ve recalled Stryjek from his loan at Accrington which means we now have three senior keepers - unfortunately we just don’t have the money to recruit another, and it would seem silly to use up a loan slot on another goalie when we’re so desperate for strength up front.