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ROKER ROUNDUP: Paddy McNair learning the grass isn’t always greener after leaving Sunderland

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In today’s roundup: we look at the Sunderland players out on loan, including Connor Shields’ first goal for Alloa, and it would appear that things haven’t gone to plan for Paddy McNair since he switched Sunderland for Middlesbrough.

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Loan roundup

Connor Shields made his first league start for Alloa Athletic yesterday and the Scottish loanee scored his first goal for the club as they drew 3-3 away to Queen of the South.

Shields scored a fantastic header into the top corner of the opposition goal to put his side 3-0 up after just 25 minutes but Europe’s top goalscorer Steven Dobbie continued his red-hot form as he scored a hat-trick to ensure both teams went home with a point.

Elliot Embleton played the entire game as Grimsby Town beat Port Vale 2-0.

Grimsby took the lead after just 30 seconds thanks to Wes Thomas latching on to an underhit back pass, rounding the Port Vale goalkeeper and sliding the ball into an empty net and JJ Hooper wrapped the scoring just before the hour mark.

Max Stryjek was in goal again for Eastleigh, fresh off winning the club’s player of the month award and his new side kept up their 100% record with the Sunderland loanee in goal as they won 2-1 away to Braintree Town.

Luke Molyneux was an unused substitute as Gateshead beat Dagenham and Redbridge 2-0 and Lamine Kone made his first appearance in a month for Strasborg, as the defender came off the bench as his side lost a two-goal lead and had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Angers.


Strachan blames Sunderland dressing room

Gordon Strachan has laid the blame for David Moyes’ woes during his time at Sunderland on the playing staff.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Strachan says he does miss coaching after he was sacked by Scotland but believes managing a club is getting increasingly harder due to modern players and points out to Moyes’ struggles at Sunderland as proof:

Do I miss coaching?

Well, I miss coaching good players. If I could get group of lads like the Scotland boys then I’d do it all again. No problem.

But it’s getting harder and harder to work with modern-day players.

I saw Steve Bruce’s interview the other night and it brought some memories rushing back. I thought to myself, ‘Do I really miss feeling like that?’

He was struggling. You just wanted to go and give him a big cuddle. ‘It’s all right, we’ve all been there, you’ll survive. Eventually’.

So maybe it’s not for me any more. Do I really want to have to fight against a dressing room like that?

Years ago one or two players would cause you a problem out of a squad of 20. These days it could be 50 per cent of them.

You shake your head and say, ‘I never got into this game to have to deal with people like you’.

I think maybe Steve had a group like that at Villa. Davie Moyes had something similar at Sunderland.

They always talk about the manager losing the dressing room. But sometimes it works the other way around. The dressing room loses the manager because you can’t be bothered to deal with people like that.

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LuaLua on Sunderland struggle

After being signed by Chris Coleman during the January transfer window, Kazenga LuaLua struggled for playing time at Sunderland last season.

The attacker only made six appearances for the club and was on the pitch for less than two hours in total.

LuaLua hinted that it was down to a problem with Coleman in an Instagram post back in July and speaking to Luton Today, the 27-year-old says his lack of playing time was never down to injuries:

The last few years, it’s weird as people see it as just injured, but it’s not really injured.

People think when I was injured, I was injured for a long time, but it wasn’t that.

I was coming back, the manager had a different option, every manager had a different option.

Many people have their own opinion, but you just have to look at them and make sure when you’re on the pitch you prove them wrong that’s all you want to do.

So people say I’m injured, I know the truth, I’m a Luton Town player, I’m here to give my all, enjoy the moment, learn from the boys here and hopefully learn from the manager as well as he’s a very good manager.


Grass isn’t greener for McNair

One player who did shine despite the club’s relegation last season was Paddy McNair, as the midfielder scored four goals in the final five games of the season.

That form saw the Northern Ireland international move to Middlesbrough in a £5m move but so far McNair has been a bit part player and has now been told by his international manager Michael O’Neill to switch to right back in an effort to nail down a place in the side:

Right now Paddy is not starting for Middlesbrough.

The challenge for Paddy now is to get into the Middlesbrough team and be prepared to play anywhere at a time when they are flying at the top of the Championship.

I had a good conversation with Paddy before the Israel game and told him where I was going to play him.

Paddy is a player I like to have in the team, but with the shape of the midfield, he nearly needs to get into the team ahead of Steven Davis, which is a big ask.

He has to get his mind around to thinking that right-back or wing-back could be his position. Against Israel he was superb.

That’s what we want; Paddy driving forward on the right and Jamal Lewis doing the same on the left. It gives you a real dynamic team.

I’ve said to Paddy that people are paying £50m for full-backs these days, so it’s not a defensive position, it’s more an attacking position.

With the game in front of him he gets to maximise the attributes he has; his running power and his quality on the ball. I was delighted with how he played and his attitude.

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