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Roker Rundown: Sunderland’s away form is a concern - and is Aiden McGeady hindering the ‘team’?

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Now that the dust has settled, we’re looking back at the key concerns coming out of Sunderland’s performance on Saturday - is Aiden McGeady hindering ‘the team’, and just how concerning is our away form?

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Leauge One Photo by Alan Hayward/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Away form a huge concern

Saturday's 1-0 defeat means Sunderland have won only two in EIGHT away games this season - and what is perhaps even more concerning is that it was our third game on the road without a goal.

Whilst some have said we were unlucky not to score, the truth is that you make your own luck, and despite our best efforts the Lads didn’t do enough to win the game as they simply didn’t do what Shrewsbury Town did - put the ball in the back of the net.

As many pointed out, the loss at New Meadow wasn’t a worrying one in isolation, but coming on the back of poor away performances at Bolton, Lincoln and Wycombe, it’s a concern that we failed to win yet again, even when we played fairly well.

Shrewsbury weren’t in good form and have struggled to win games and score goals themselves but, yet again, Sunderland managed to allow them to somehow lose a winnable game away from the Stadium of Light.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Better without McGeady?

It’s long been said that our best player is Aiden McGeady, but there seems to be a growing concern that when he plays, the team suffers.

That train of thought gained further traction at the weekend, with the winger returning to the starting line up following our 5-0 win over Tranmere, but the Lads failing to score for the second weekend in a row. So is there something in it, or is it an easy excuse to make?

It’s fair to say under Jack Ross there was an over-reliance on McGeady and subsequently the team did sometimes suffer, whilst our midweek win, where he was suspended, was easily our best performance of the season.

It’s a tough one to call, because surely a good manager will find a way to facilitate his most talented player - and Parkinson may just do that in time. You could also say we did everything but score, so we got in good positions to score with McGeady in the team.

I suppose time will tell with this one.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Leauge One Photo by Alan Hayward/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

One of those days, or time to panic?

“I can’t believe we didn’t get something from that game” said Phil Parkinson in the aftermath of Saturday’s defeat, and you can understand his frustration with how the game panned out - many fans felt the same way.

It was another game on the road and another defeat, and whilst the loss is isolation was unfortunate, in the context of the season it’s more of a pattern and the more it goes on, the further we drift away from even play-off contention.

Sunderland sit in eighth, eight points behind second-placed Wycombe Wanderers and on a run of two wins in five, which is far from where the club expected to be as a whole.

Sunderland’s aim was to win the league, and right now we don’t even look like play-off contenders. The 100 point target was not set by the fans, but the owners - the men at the top of this football club who set the standards for the management and team - and we are so far away from that target that it’s genuinely worrying.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Leauge One Photo by Alan Hayward/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Be patient with Watmore

Duncan Watmore has been in excellent form since returning from injury but looked jaded on Saturday, showing that perhaps Phil Parkinson - and the fans - need to be patient with him as his nurses his way back to peak form and full fitness.

In my opinion, Watmore has the pace and ability to transform Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland this term and, if he can remain fit, will be vital to any success the Lads have.

The manager spoke of the winger feeling stiff and tired, claiming he would make a late decision on him in the run-up to the clash at New Meadow, but seemingly deemed him in a good enough shape to start.

However, Watmore did not look at it and that will no doubt be due to playing him three times in a week after a near thirty-month spell in and out on the physio room.

Watmore’s fitness needs to be managed, and he needs patience.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images