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FAN LETTERS: “Do Sunderland need to target some bigger, physical players in order to succeed?”

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Sunderland’s downfall in many games last season was our lack of height and power - should our attention now turn to recruiting some big lads to ensure we can mix it up? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in a future edition!

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Many of Sunderland’s new signings look to be good players - both for this level and potentially the one above - but I do have one worry.

Is the squad perhaps too small, physically not numerically?

In the Championship, basically in every position, Sunderland got pushed around and looked out-muscled. That may be a problem for the squad, especially against some of the more physical League 1 sides, e.g., Peterborough under Evans.

Obviously there may be new signings that impeaches this perceived issue, but for example McGeouch/Honeyman/Robson/Embleton, any combination would make a very talented midfield, but not a very big, physical one. Does this recruitment strategy seem to hint at Sunderland playing a style where ability will compensate for physicality?

Colter Lasley

Ed’s Note [Gav]: That’s a very viable concern Colter, one that I too share. Last year it was painful watching poor sides bully us because of our lack of physicality, and we conceded far too many goals from set pieces. The new recruitment team need to make sure we address our chronic issue with height and strength.

Losing Paddy McNair in that respect has been a blow. Hopefully we can bring in some big fellas that are capable of mixing it up in games. Hiram Boateng at Exeter City is one that always sticks out in my mind for that position, but we have to ensure we’re able to cope at the back too.

We targetted Lyle Taylor and Florient Kamberi for that reason - because they’re both big lads, and their height at the other end of the pitch would have been useful. We know Jack Ross likes to play slick attacking football but he also ensures his teams are well-drilled defensively, so we just have to remain patient and hope he brings in some dominant players that also have the quality to ensure we get ourselves out of this league at the first time of asking.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I take exception to Rob Brown’s use of foul language in his allegation of lack of commitment by Joel Asoro to the ‘SAFC cause’. I’m surprised Roker Report published it because it was needless and unhelpful - not least, I’d suggest, to Jack Ross.

We don’t know the ins and outs of any discussions between him or his agent and the club. While generally hopeful regarding the club’s prospects under new ownership, I think Stewart Donald may have been a bit naive offering supporters something of a running commentary on who may have been saying what to who behind the scenes.

It - and Rob Brown’s reaction - is likely to alienate the likes of Joel and George Honeyman more than persuade them to stay - and I hope we all want these kinds of players to stay?!

I wouldn’t be happy if my employer started discussing me or trying to negotiate with me in public! Openness is great but you have to draw a line somewhere!

Best wishes.

Robert Crosby

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Whatever your thoughts were on Rob’s opinion of Asoro, he’s very much entitled to it and we aren’t going to censor anyone! I didn’t agree with him but that doesn’t make him wrong.

Regarding Stewart Donald’s stance with talking about club matters, I find it refreshing. There are things that we of course don’t need to know about but then as an aside I’m sure there are many things going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, and I can take an educated guess right now and say that Asoro wants to leave and we’re working hard on finding a club willing to pay what he’s worth.