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ROKER ROUNDUP: Interesting - Sunderland striker target not given squad number for the new season

James Wilson - who has been linked with a loan move to Sunderland - has not been given a squad number ahead of the new season.

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Wilder explains Sharp decision

Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp has been strongly linked with Sunderland all summer and his current lack of playing time for the Blades may see him become available before the loan window ends at the end of August.

The 32-year-old has only played 11 minutes for United in their two defeats to Swansea City and Middlesbrough, and speaking about his decision to leave out Sharp - and midfielder Mark Duffy - Chris Wilder explained that he felt new signing David McGoldrick was the better partner for Leon Clarke:

We set up a shape in midfield to play a three, and it worked well in pre-season against Inter Milan so we felt that was the shape we wanted to work with.

Duff has to be patient and wait for his chance. We’re judged on the results and possibly if we’d won on Saturday, there wouldn’t be such a clamour for him to start.

David McGoldrick has done well so far and in pre-season we felt he’d be the best partner for Leon, and we live and die by our decisions.

We’ve got a group of players desperate to get in the team and be part of it, and Duff is a crowd favourite. He did something last season that gave him God-like status at the club, and Billy’s the same.

I get it, that’s opinion and if I’ve picked the right side over the last two seasons I get credit, as we’ve got decent results. But if not, I’m open to criticism. That’s football.

I’ve been in tougher situations than this over my career and I’ve said to the players that we have to show what we’re about now. There’s a bit of doubt flying about and we have to turn that around.

It will be interesting to see if Sharp features against Queens Park Rangers later today.

Sheffield United v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Wilson features

Another striker linked with a move to Sunderland is Manchester United youngster James Wilson and the forward was in action for their under-23s last night.

Wilson started in the 2-2 draw against Fulham but was surprisingly taken off at half-time at Motspur Park.

The 22-year-old’s future at Old Trafford is in doubt with the player only having one year remaining on his contract and in a further blow to his Manchester United career, he wasn’t given a number when United announced their squad numbers yesterday.

Leicester City v Sheffield United - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Connolly talks Sunderland

Sunderland travel to Kenilworth Road later today to take on Luton Town, and the last time we made this trip for a league game we clinched the Championship title thanks to a 5-0 win.

A scorer on that day David Connolly was talking ahead of the match and is disappointed that the club now find themselves in League One, with the striker blaming former owner Ellis Short for the club’s woes:

With Sunderland, it’s a real shame with what happened after Ellis Short came in. From speaking to people at the club, he wasn’t there most of the time.

If you aren’t going to be there, at least appoint people with knowledge of how to run a football club.

They have had no structure or template for their management. They seem to lurch from one appointment to the next -one completely different style to the next- without really giving too much time to any of them.

I enjoyed my time at the club. I knew Roy from the Ireland set up and when he offered me the chance to join, I didn’t hesitate. We had a tough start, but we turned it around and ended up gaining promotion quite comfortably in the end. With the fans behind you, it’s a great place to play football.

It’s really sad to see where they are and they have a mountain to climb now.

Luton Town v Sunderland Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Academy manager holds Q&A

The open nature of the new Sunderland hierarchy continues, as new academy manager Paul Reid took to Twitter last night to hold a question and answer session with fans. Where he explained the academy’s philosophy, how the youngsters will differ from the first-team and revealed that we had strengthened the youth ranks with a player from France.

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