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Make Your Case: Will Max Power regain the trust of Sunderland fans after getting sent off AGAIN?

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Max Power picked up his third straight red card of the season yesterday. Will he ever be able to regain the trust of the Sunderland supporters? Two of our writers go head to head to debate the topic.

Image: Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Poll

Will Max Power ever regain your trust?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    No! He’s become a liability through ill-discipline
    (978 votes)
  • 51%
    Yes! He adds something to the squad
    (1053 votes)
2031 votes total Vote Now

Jack: If it’s an option, I’d happily send him back to Wigan!

Sunderland’s performance in the opening 20 minutes against Walsall was possibly the best I’ve seen us play all season. We attacked with intensity and accuracy, we won about 100 corners, we forced their defenders into mistakes, we actually took effective and quick throw-ins, and Max Power almost scored a fantastic goal from outside the box.

But then, Power decided to needlessly fly late into a challenge on the halfway line and earned his third straight red card in six appearances for Sunderland. We were very lucky to escape with a point and the ten men left on the pitch did everyone around the club proud with a fantastic fightback - in stark contrast to what Power did to get himself dismissed.

Now, plenty have argued that the decision was soft, and Jack Ross himself said the club will appeal the decision. But those around me and myself, standing on the side where contact was actually made, all immediately thought it was a clear red.

In a way, it doesn’t even matter. Chances are, any appeal will be unsuccessful, and by the time his five-match ban is served, Power will have racked up 12 appearances for the club and been suspended for 15.

This is clearly unacceptable.

Yes, Power is a very good player at this level (when he actually feels like staying on the pitch) and seems like a good lad in clips we see of training and on social media, but this was the final straw for me. One advantage of our current position is that good League One players aren’t very hard to come by, especially for a club like ourselves.

We’re not scrapping to stay in the Premier League anymore, pathetically feeling lucky to have any glimmer of talent in the squad and willing to forgive fundamental flaws to keep it here. We’re a big club with big ambitions, and like it or not we cannot afford to have such an obvious liability on the pitch when we’re gunning for titles.

These might be the first red cards of his career, but each one of them has shown a reckless, thoughtless, petulant streak that has already cost us enough points.

The four points dropped at Oxford and Walsall alone would have had us top of the table by now.

I can’t see how the fans, players, and management at the club can possibly trust him after this, and most importantly I’m not sure whether he’ll learn from it or whether it will paralyse him on the pitch in future. I’m not sure I want to find out.

If it’s an option, I’d happily send him back to Wigan in January and replace him with someone who we can trust to stay on the pitch and deliver us the title. In the meantime, I think the Foundation of Light is looking for donations, and I personally see no justifiable reason for giving him a penny while he serves his suspension.

Max Power will be suspended for more games than he’s played.
Image: MI News and Sport

Mark: He is definitely the type of character & player we need!

For many, the partnership of Lee Cattermole and Max Power has been the midfield pairing of choice this season. Whilst that says a lot for Cattermole’s reinvention in Sunderland colours this season, it also speaks volumes for Jack Ross’ identification of a player who knows this division well.

Power was signed with the experience of having won the League One title twice in three years with Wigan Athletic. At 25 years-of-age, he is coming into his prime as a ball-playing midfielder, with the drive and passion to change the losing culture that had surrounded the club for years. Ross’ selection spoke as much to the infectious character of the player as to his ability.

That drive and passion may have resulted in Power being a little eager to impress at times. Three red cards in the first third of the season is not good reading. Whilst the card for kicking out at a Bradford player was fully justified, the decision taken by the referee against Oxford was contestable. Mistimed and poor, perhaps, a challenge from behind, certainly, but a straight red? The third red, a clumsy tackle during a 50-50 challenge against Walsall on Saturday, was also denounced by Jack Ross and the club are considering an appeal.

Two decisions have gone against Max Power, but they should not be the defining moments of his Sunderland career to date. The midfielder scored twice in his first five games and has come close on many occasions since. His passing range has been a major factor in getting Sunderland to play on the front foot this season.

His experience helped young Bali Mumba through the opening games of the season and enabled new signing Dylan McGeough to settle into the Sunderland team, whilst his partnerships with Cattermole and Honeyman have brought balance to the side. Off the field, he has helped change a losing mentality into a winning one and, by all accounts, continually lifts spirits during training.

All in all, Power has been a tremendous signing, personality and ability-wise. He is definitely the type of character and player we need at the club, and a couple of poor refereeing decisions shouldn’t change our minds in that regard.

Sunderland need the character and ability of Max Power
Image: Getty Images