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Podcast Notes: Sunderland’s ‘Bristanbul’ moment should wake us up - time to go 4-at-the-back!

“Shifting to a four at the back formation will enable us to get Aiden McGeady, our biggest goal threat, back in the team”, writes Connor Bromley in this week’s Roker Rapport Podcast column.

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Podcast Notes!
James Nickels |

Having spent the majority of the first half on Saturday peering at what was happening before me through my fingers, this week’s Podcast looked set to be yet another group therapy session - and then Bristanbul happened.

Our performance at Ashton Gate on Saturday could perhaps be a metaphor for how the rest of the season goes - essentially, we were looking down and out by the time Chris Coleman came in, but now we are fighting back to hopefully stay in the Championship come the end of the season.

I still worry about our chances of staying up. We have won the least amount of games this season of any team in the Championship, we have the second worst goal difference in the division and we have an unbalanced squad that relies far too heavily on inexperienced players. Fletcher, Asoro, Ejaria, Honeyman, Robson, Clarke-Salter and Tyias Browning all featured on Saturday, and each of them are just at the start of their careers. Expecting them to have enough about them when it gets down to the nitty-gritty is unfair, but it is what it is and we’ll just have to hope that their quality shines through.

2018 EFL Championship Football Bristol City v Sunderland Feb 10th Photo by Nathan Munkley/Action Plus via Getty Images

Is it time for Chris Coleman to start setting up his side from the start of games with four at the back? We discussed this a bit last week on the Pod, prior to Saturday’s performance, and I think that whilst there were some differing views on the matter there may be a shift in opinion having watch us improve so much having changed our shape in the second half.

We’ll no doubt be talking about Aiden McGeady this week following his impressive performance after coming on late in the game.

The Republic of Ireland international has struggled to break into Chris Coleman’s side but it is quite obvious that he represents our best chance of scoring and creating goals. He has earned himself a chance of a start against Brentford in my book, and shifting to a 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 will give McGeady a chance to play in his best position, which in turn offers him an opportunity to get back into the kind of form he showed earlier in the season.

Sunderland Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

When you’re in the thick of a relegation battle you have to adapt in order to survive, and if your preferred system isn’t working you have to be prepared to change. Our manager needs to alter his tactics so that they better suit the players at his disposal. For me, that means changing to a more traditional lineup that includes four defenders.

On the subject of this week’s show we have an interesting guest joining us in the studio. At the Rapport we try to be a little bit different and we want to bring guests to you from all walks of life that share the same passion as us with regards to supporting Sunderland. As such, this week we have famous wrestling personality Jack the Jobber dropping by to take part in the show.

Jack is a massive Sunderland fan but is most famed for his persona in the wrestling industry, so there’ll no doubt be a little bit of that thrown in for good measure!

*Brace yourselves for some terrible wrestling puns*

Hopefully this weekend’s performance can enable Sunderland to ‘Stunner’ their opposition more regularly as they look to get off ‘Rock Bottom’ in the Championship. I’m fairly confident that that ChrisColeman will be saying ‘You Cant See Me’ to the relegation zone come May. Hopefully the Sunderland fans will be chanting ‘Yes, Yes, Yes’ this weekend against Brentford....

I will see myself out.

The Roker Rapport Podcast is our TWICE WEEKLY audio show, out on Monday evenings and Thursday mornings. Join us - you can subscribe for free on iTunes, Acast and Youtube.

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