Dear Roker Report,
Reading Joey Barton’s tongue in cheek wind up comments, I would say he does have a point. They took 4 points off us against our one last season. They are currently above us in the league. They are playing attractive attacking football. They have a settled first team and more importantly play for 90 minutes. That is not to say their bubble won’t burst but currently it’s a fact.
Compare that to the way we play. Our resources are three times that of Fleetwood, with facilities and fans they can only dream about.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: I think there’s definitely an element of Sunderland looking at the fixture, acknowledging it’ll be a tough game, and deciding that they’d rather have a full contingent of players to choose from. It’s fair enough, really. I understand some people noting that we have a squad for a reason and that we should use them, but to be fair we need consistency moving forward because, in my opinion, the chopping and changing of Sunderland’s start lineup has been part of the issue. The Lads need to keep improving, and having a full squad to choose from will give us the best chance of doing that.
Dear Roker Report,
The debate around the cancelling of the Fleetwood game hasn’t really mentioned the likelihood of the game now being played midweek making it a lot harder for fans wanting to attend, seems like no thought of the fans again.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Thanks for the letter, Alec! It’s definitely an unfortunate issue that re-arranging fixtures creates. That being said, I’m continuously amazed at how many MLFs travel to every away game - I’m sure the Lads and Lasses will do us proud again.
Dear Roker Report,
Having just checked a recent poll, I see that 100% of participants have said that Lincoln can beat Sunderland this week. I am not sure if the poll was Lincoln based or otherwise, but it still registered 100%. Why would this be? Simple as far as I can see. The guy in charge of Lincoln is Michael Appleton. He is a throwback of the Reidy mould. I actually suggested about 2-3 years ago that we went for Nigel Pearson and Appleton as a team to take us on. Don’t forget that Appleton was an integral part of the management structure that lifted Leicester City from the depths of relegation before they went on to win the Premier League a year later.
I actually believe that Appleton still “gets it” about places like the SOL. He will not take nonsense and he makes his players appreciate the jobs they do for a living, and also that they are so blessed to be able to get paid for something they love.
I still believe we need someone of his persona. The SOL absolutely rocks when our players are tearing in for 50/50 tackles, and we back them 100%. If we did our own poll, I would bet my house that the fans would rather have someone in charge who is not afraid to rocket the players, AND who shows his emotion on the touchline. That is what we want. That is what we need, and that is what will get this place rock and rolling again.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: There’s a case to be made that our entire club thrives with leaders that incite passion and belief. Reid, McCarthy, Keane, Allardyce are some prime examples, you could argue. However, I think it’s too early to guess at how Appleton will do at Lincoln. He was appointed September 20th and the next day his side were thrashed 6-0 by Oxford (though he obviously hadn’t been able to do much with the side in one day). Then, his first ‘proper’ game in charge saw his side lose 2-1 against Blackpool.
Ultimately, Lincoln - like every other team in this League - rightfully think they can beat Sunderland. It’s up to Ross and his team to instill fear in opposition sides. So far we haven’t done that, but it’s something we need to develop - I think that links into the thoughts you were noting in your letter.