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QUICK KICKS: Sunderland are finally on the better end of the ‘bad team, bad player’ effect

We’ve come over all regal in this edition of Quick Kicks. The King has donned his crown, brandished his sceptre and granted Wearside another three points - and there’s plenty for us to talk about!

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With Chris Maguire, we’re finally on the better end of the ‘bad team bad player’ effect

The man we’ve come to know as King was little more than a pauper when he was still at Bury. Maguire had a shaky time with the Shakers and, as a result, positive plaudits from their fans to ours following his transfer were hard to come by.

We were sold a bad player with a bad attitude, or so they thought, but evidently - and interestingly - almost the entirety of Lee Clark’s former side seemed to receive the same review. It’s almost as if an all-encompassing black cloud of negativity had enveloped the entire club - but we haven’t seen that before, now have we?

Yeah, it sounds an awful lot like the general bad atmosphere of the football club had infected its individual constituents and ultimately brought out the worst in everyone. This is a problem we’re more than used to being on the business end of; we’ve seen plenty of players do terribly on ‘rotten core’ Wearside only to leave for sunnier, friendlier pastures where they play much, much better football. It’s refreshing that, in the case of Chris Maguire, the roles between us and the other club have finally been reversed.


Aiden McGeady looks keen to impress, but will that benefit us?

Maguire has shunted McGeady out of the exciting midfielder spotlight. The former’s excellent run of recent form coupled with the latter’s prolonged spell on the sidelines makes it inevitable that such a shift would transpire.

In yesterday’s clash with Southend, the Irishman seemed to look to poach as much of the popularity as he could. Plenty of mazy runs, his usual silky skills and a lovely finish ensured that his mission was reasonably successful - but do we want to see more of this mentality going forward?

If McGeady is playing every match with the hopes of distinguishing his individual brilliance from that of his midfield colleagues, then we’ll certainly have a committed and talented player on our books for the forseeable future. There is, however, the possibility that we’ll see skill in scenarios where direct but unglamorous passing is preferred - with a consequence of wasted possession.

Ye olde Aiden could dethrone King Maguire, or he could go beyond himself and take his own game to the block. Who knows?

Birmingham City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Reece James could prove Bryan Oviedo to be expendable

James came back into the fold just as Oviedo was suspended, and it’s safe to say that he’s performed his duty with all the same competency shown by the Costa Rican.

Still, if I had to choose the overall better left-back between the two, I’d probably have to say that Oviedo is marginally better than James, but I don’t reckon the difference between the two is significant enough to hamper our chances of promotion.

As far as ability is concerned, there really isn’t a lot to separate the defenders; the only dimension across which the two can be profoundly distinguished would be their wages. It’s likely that the Costa Rican international is on a significant amount more per week than his colleague signed from Wigan, so if the latter can do a good enough job as the former, then surely we could move Bryan on to free up his wages?

Sure, squad depth in that position might then become an issue, but if we were to redistribute a portion of those wages to sign another competent left-back, we would still be making a net gain on Oviedo’s departure. I wouldn’t worry about this; when it comes to signing good players for this level, I’d trust Jack Ross with my life.

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

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