There’s no need to panic
I have to admit, I was banging my head against the wall reading some of the comments made online in the midst of yesterday evening’s game.
Of course, we’d all love to have won, but the truth is that the result doesn’t matter one single bit. It’s a training exercise intended to boost fitness, and very little else.
If there was any significance with regards to the result we would have picked our strongest side and wouldn’t have made constant, multiple changes throughout the game.
In his pre-match preview on SAFC.com, Jack Ross said he’d be using the game as a chance to give everyone minutes on the pitch. Darlington may be a lower-league outfit but they’re slightly ahead in their preparations and, as such, it was always going to be a competitive game - which is fantastic when your aim is to get the squad fitter and sharper.
So what I say is for people just to relax, recognise that the first game of pre-season has never meant anything (literally never) and let the lads crack on with getting fit and ready.
New boys impress
It wasn’t all doom and gloom of course - newbies Dylan McGeouch, Reece James and Chris Maguire gave the watching supporters an impression of what might be to come and coped fairly well on their first outing in a Sunderland shirt.
Scotland international McGeouch was probably the standout perfomer for Jack Ross’ side and showed some of the qualities that have made him such a popular figure north of the border with Hibernian. He sat deep, dictated play and showed what a great range of passing he’s got when delivering long balls forward to the wide-men.
Wigan fans told us that Reece James likes to get forward and he did just that last night, hugging the left hand side of the pitch in order to support the midfield and get balls into the box.
And Chris Maguire showed skill and trickery on more than one occasion and took some decent set pieces - a glimpse perhaps of what he could be capable of in the future.
Strengthening still required
If we did truly learn anything yesterday it was that the squad is still depleted and lacking in strength, pace and physicality in almost every area of the pitch.
Stewart Donald has promised four or five new signings, and we can probably guess that two of those will be strikers and two will be central defenders. That said, some height and presence in the centre of the park would help our cause going forward, especially since we struggled so badly in that department last season, so hopefully they’ll look to add players in there too.
But there’s still plenty of time for that, and we needn’t worry.
Last nights result was far from great but at least it will highlight the need for improvement and the areas we are lacking. Let’s hope we can get the players in we need in time for them to gel enough to get off to a decent start.— Run Dave Run (@Yellowbug1969) July 11, 2018