Dear Roker Report,
I agree with many fans that Alim Ozturk has not looked quite the quality needed.
Perhaps in time, he will grow in comfort and thus competence, but certainly if promoted, Sunderland will have to invest in a partner for Baldwin who has looked good.
Loovens has looked excellent, but he’s 34 and may provide more of a mentoring role.
Whether that investment should be done in January or June depends on the season and where Sunderland stand, but in a year Patrick Bauer of Charlton’s contract will be up. He looks to be a good, relatively young defender that might partner Baldwin well. Also, if Portsmouth are not promoted Matt Clarke looks very talented, and John Souttar of Hearts does as well, though both of those players will probably require 2-3 million transfer fee, but they will give Sunderland a great young center-back partnership.
With Brandon Taylor coming through, Loovens adding experience, and perhaps signing another experienced Championship defender, Sunderland would have a really excellent selection of defenders in the centre.
After several years of incompetence in this area of the park, Sunderland - if they have the finances - should really consider investing in it. Young defenders are also highly valuable, and players such as the three mentioned above might have very good sell on value.
Ed’s Note [JN]: I doubt the club will be wiling to part with such transfer fees in League One - or any club for that matter. We do have the money, but the plan is to clearly get back to the Championship as soon as possible without spending too much. It is very much doable.
It must be noted too that Souttar already turned us down once in the past, while a youth product at Dundee United. Maybe now with an open path to first-team football and a Scot in charge, that may change.
Dear Roker Report,
What a pleasure it was to watch the lads on Sunday and Wednesday.
It seems as though we have finally got a group of players who really want to play for our club - well done to all concerned for the recruitment of these players. What a breath of fresh air it is to see us play with a sense of freedom, and an appetite for the game.
Well done Jack Ross and the back room staff. Onwards and upwards.
Ha’way the lads.
Ed’s Note [JN]: This. The current squad is a nicely balanced mix of youth and experience, but they all clearly love pulling the shirt on week-in, week-out. Looking at the social media of our players and the club after the Gillingham game and in training before-hand, it is clear the mood in the dressing room and team spirit truly is night and day from last season. Long may this continue.