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Fan Letters: “He’s out of work - bring Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips in as a striker coach!”

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Sunderland’s ‘below par’ streaming service, Jack Ross and Super Kev are today’s hot topics in our latest edition of the Roker Report mailbag. Email us: RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in the next edition!

Derby County v Burton Albion - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Correct me if I am wrong, but the international supporters are getting a poor deal this year to follow the side. The pass for the Championship last season cost less and included on demand matches, which is a massive feature when you are removed multiple time zones and hold down a full time job or more.

This season we can only watch live and we’re paying more for lower tier football match coverage.

What’s that about?

Jesse Durham

Ed’s Note [TA]: As a Mackem living in America, I find the international pass to be a canny deal in all honesty. I’d love to have commentary - even a little graphic with the score would be an improvement - but realistically I am just pleased I can watch the lads play live on a weekend, something we couldn’t always do last season.

Of course, if you’re living somewhere in the world where time zones make watching games a difficulty, I feel for you. However, I don’t think we have a bad deal to be able to watch live games or have access to a decent highlights package if you miss the full ninety.

I’m sure the club will continue to improve the service moving forward, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

A glorious silhouette away end at Gillingham earlier in the season.
Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Although I think we look like losing Josh Maja, we still have Charlie Wyke, who is getting in the right places but not burying his chances and we have a bunch of promising youngsters who the manager seems reluctant to rely on.

Our greatest goalscorer of all time is out of work - so let’s bring him back as a striker coach.

Having the undoubted talent of the only Englishman to win the European Golden Boot on the staff could keep Maja in Sunderland, cure Wyke’s misfiring issue and turn our other promising youngsters into real goalscorers.

I know the king of the modern era (sorry Chris but I don’t think you have been here long enough) has managerial ambitions so he might just take a short term contract or he could one day take over if Jack Ross leaves.

#BringBackKingKev

Alan Haddick

Ed’s Note [JN]: Of course it’d be a great idea, his influence on every striker on the club’s books would be evident from the outset. Now, I think Ross is here for the long haul but bringing in Super Kev would be great, hands down.

However, managers have their own preferred teams, and I’m not sure Ross would bring him in. This being said, however, neither Ross and none of his backroom staff were strikers nor attacking players in their playing career.

Whether or not Phillips himself would drop down to League One also remains to be seen - he may as yet be awaiting to see if Gary Rowett takes over elsewhere before committing to anything else.

Chronicle

Dear Roker Report,

Harking back to our last spell at this level, I wondered if readers/listeners agreed that we’ve begun this season fundamentally lacking managerial experience and knowledge of this division. Recalling Denis Smith, he knew the third tier inside out, recruited good third tier players (Marco, MacPhail, Pascoe) and was prepared for the style, sh*thousery and officiating at this level.

I’m not sure Jack Ross and his coaching staff began with the same understanding given their experience is almost entirely in Scottish football. One early example being Oxford or Fleetwood at home where we got pulled into the type of games they wanted. Only Maguire seems to acknowledge that with only the one camera at games (compared to every angle covered higher up the league) you’re able to get away with a lot more. This didn’t seem to have struck those that remain from the previous two seasons. The learning curve for management and squad has been too acute.

Granted it could be argued that in Oxford supporting Director/Owner and players such as Maguire, Power and Baldwin there is some League One nous, but I can’t help but feel we’ve a management and team who haven’t quite learnt this Division yet and that has been an oversight at the beginning of the season.

Peter Cooper

Ed’s Note [JN]: Can’t disagree much to be honest! Ross himself has repeatedly claimed that he is fast learning, and the players are too. Our style of play is changing as the year goes on and the players are definitely considerably cuter at dealing with some real League One sh*thousery.

But it is clear they are all still learning, and the point about the camera is a very good one I hadn’t considered at all. Danny Hylton’s red card comes to mind, but for the opposing reasons. He got sent off in game in a quite inconclusive challenge, yet Luton Town cannot appeal the decision as existing video evidence is far from conclusive enough to decide either way and re desperate to avoid adding another game for a “frivolous appeal”.

At this stage of the season we are still on course, looking at past title-winning and promotion-achieving years, to achieve our goal of promotion first time out - but you’re right, to get this the Lads and coaching staff need to top adapting and put what they’ve learned into practice in order to convert draws into wins.