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Podcast Notes: Coleman’s not immune to critique, but he’s 100% the man to turn Sunderland around

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In this week’s Roker Rapport Podcast column, Connor Bromley reflects upon Saturday’s devastating loss to Ipswich - despite everything appearing glum, we have to place our faith in Chris Coleman to turn our fortunes around.

James Nickels

As a passionate fan of this blundering football club, one of the few things that I can take enjoyment from is the fact that I can blow off steam on a Monday night during our podcast group therapy sessions in the studio.

Just a few weeks back - following our victory at home over fellow strugglers Hull City - we had BBC Newcastle broadcaster Nick Barnes on the show, and there was an air of positivity about the place. We were all fairly hopeful for a bright future, with an away trip to Birmingham City and then a game at home to Ipswich Town on the horizon.

Two games have gone by and we’ve lost them both, conceding five.

Typical, really.

Sunderland v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

I firmly believe in our manager Chris Coleman. I am sure that 99% of you reading this do too. The man is effectively trying to save a ship that sunk the moment David Moyes rocked up on Wearside last summer, destroying any of the momentum we gained during the tenure of Sam Allardyce.

Our former boss Mick McCarthy said on Saturday: “It’s like trying to turn around an oil tanker with a canoe paddle.” It’s hard to disagree.

That said, the current gaffer is not immune to criticism. I am sure to bring up on the Podcast this week the fact that his persistence in playing with three centre backs is harming us. My feelings are that a manager should make best use of his squad depending on who he has available, playing them in a system that suits as opposed to slotting players into positions that they aren’t familiar with - see Billy Jones playing centre half as a prime example.

Sunderland Training Sesison
Is Billy Jones playing at centre half worth it?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

That said, Coleman - in truth - is doing his level best to polish a turd. Formations and tactics are irrelevant if you have a squad of players who are just not good enough and are unable to thrive under the conditions which they find themselves playing in.

Since defeating Hull there has been very little on or off the pitch for us to get excited about... but I will try my best to see some of the positives from our situation. Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria was very good on Saturday - he will definitely have a say in our bid for survival and looks like a proper box-to-box midfielder, one that will help link midfield to attack. Ashley Fletcher looked good for half an hour, but he soon quietened down once the game fell out of our grasp.

The only other positive I can take from the last two games is that we are only two points adrift of Barnsley, who sit in 21st.

There are some big matches coming up and I am not willing to give up on the team any time soon.

We have 12 points left to play for this month, with two more home fixtures to come before February is over and done with. All hope is not lost yet - and, as Chris Coleman said on Saturday, “people can be forgiven for thinking it is never going to turn, but it will turn - I promise you.”

I believe you Chris - I really do.

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.