Be sure to read both arguments and then vote in the poll at the bottom of the article!
Paddy: “No - Pick our ‘strongest’ side!”
With relegation confirmed we have two matches remaining which have nothing riding on them. With a game against the champions and a trip to a Fulham side who need the points to keep ahead of Cardiff in the final automatic promotion place, we’re going to be in for a couple of tough contests.
For this reason, Chris Coleman should line up with the strongest side available.
For the first 85 minutes of the Burton match, before we imploded, the side we put out didn’t do too badly. Jason Steele has most likely secured his place in the side until the end of the season; he played better in Saturday’s game than Lee Camp has in his whole Sunderland career. Ashley Fletcher has also shown improvement, so he’ll be leading the line once again.
We should play our strongest side to make sure we finish the campaign in the best possible way that we can. Sunderland have disgraced themselves on many occasions this season, and the only way to salvage even a molecule of dignity is to put in two performances which shows the future doesn’t need to be so bleak.
The academy players who are on the verge of a first team call up will get their chance next season when our funds have been diminished even more. For the time being, though, we might as well play the likes of McGeady, Kone and O’Shea whilst we have them. Regarding O’Shea, anyone who disagrees with me needs to have a solid think about who is better than him - certainly not Clark-Salter or Wilson.
If the final two matches of the season see us lose but give a good account of ourselves, that’ll be fine by me. It’s just unfortunate that some of these players will only put in a good performance to try and get themselves a move away from the Stadium of Light.
Let’s be honest, most of the squad probably don’t have the bottle for League One anyway, as bleak as that sounds.
Mark: “Yes - let’s prepare for next season!”
Chris Coleman has two Championship games left in order to begin the rebuild of this once great club, and I would urge him to make the best of the opportunity given.
Up to this point, Coleman has been striving to give us every chance of surviving in this league, and rightly so. Now, however, the landscape has changed. We know our fate and we need no longer rely on players who would rather be elsewhere.
On the final day of the 2015/16 season we played away at Watford. This is the only time, in recent history, that we had a ‘free’ game; one where nothing was riding on the outcome.
Sam Allardyce handed debuts to three academy prospects who had played key roles in helping the U21s to reaching second place in the league. Rees Greenwood and Tommy Robson took charge of our left side that day, whilst George Honeyman emerged from the subs bench. Jordan Pickford, who had graduated under Allardyce earlier in the season, was in goal and Duncan Watmore was further up-field. All five were applauded, and the future looked bright.
It may not have worked out for of all those youngsters, but we have a new crop ready to showcase their talents.
We have two games left to play. Fulham are challenging for promotion on the back of a very strong run, and Wolves are already promoted. The chances are that Sunderland will lose both of these games, regardless of which players are selected.
This is a chance for Coleman to take a closer look at one or two youngsters with an eye on the future. He has a chance to assess who may be part of his team next season and where the big gaps remain. The opportunity is a no-brainer, as the energy and desire alone from some of these younger lads will help to lift the club out of its current malaise.
Max Stryjek is the most obvious candidate for a start, but Luke Molyneux is a forward of immense potential and would be worth some closer inspection. Elliot Embleton is another the club have high hopes for, and he has already been around the first team this season. Owen Gamble has made the bench this year, whilst his fellow full-back Denver Hume is highly rated.
Integrating the lads amongst the crop of players who are likely to be here for the League One campaign makes sense.
It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Stryjek could start the last two games, whilst in defence, Gamble or Hume could benefit from playing alongside some more experienced campaigners.
In midfield, replacing Cattermole with Robson and McGeady with Molyneux or Embleton would not be a bad call, as these games provide a stern test for the youngsters, and up front we have to trust our own emerging forwards - Maja and Asoro - for the final two games.
Coleman has said on numerous occasions that things have to change. Well here, you go: a real opportunity to begin that process.
Who do you agree with?
This poll is closed
Matthew - We need to give Adam Matthews a new deal
Mark - Let’s sell now and improve the right back spot