Q: Southend are the league’s whipping boys but have a new manager. How would you approach this game in terms of tactics and team selection, and what would represent a good result for us - is simply winning enough, or do we need to do it in style?
Chris Wynn says...
I’m expecting Parkinson to put out a similar formation and setup to what we saw against Tranmere Rovers in what is our only win in his four games in charge so far.
I suspect the League Cup game was used to experiment with three at the back but I can’t see us moving to that week week out from this point - especially at home.
Against Tranmere we had what could easily be described as a front four especially in a game where we’re on the front foot and I think that’s what the mentality has to be at home.
Although Jack Ross had the Stadium of a Ligh a fortress where we rarely lost, we need to turn it into a place we where we exclusively win.
Although Tranmere were awful the fact we had players busting a gut to get ahead of the ball and be direct with their runs constantly getting in behind the opposition at pace made them look a lot worse.
We played with pace and purpose and got the first goal after 24 minutes and that is huge at home, if we get an early goal it could be a rout.
On the other hand however, Sol Campbell will want to lay down a marker for his new side and will no doubt come with a game plan to frustrate us. The longer the game goes on, the more the pressure will build on the players and tension will build in the stands.
An early goal is vital and I’d like to see us come out of the blocks from the off and create some early chances.
Ideally we’d all love another scoreline like Tranmere Rovers, but Parkinson just needs three points - and to stand any chance of being in a promotion chase we need to put away the likes of Southend United.
Phil West says...
For me, winning is all that counts in Saturday. Substance over style. We’ve hit a bad run of form, Tranmere aside, and we need to turn it around and quickly. I’m confident that our home form will be the bedrock of a promotion push.
With that in mind, I do think an attacking gameplan is the best way to go on Saturday. Would I be surprised if Southend came to shut up shop and escape with a draw? Not at all. I expect them to be gutsy, determined and resolute, forcing us to try and work out a way of breaking them down whilst simultaneously. To them, a point would be a triumph.
To that end, I’d like to see us, like we did last time out at the SOL, play with some attacking intent and without any fear. Let’s get the ball down, zip it around, make intelligent runs, and stretch them at every opportunity. This is clearly how Parkinson wants Sunderland to play, and he certainly has the players to do it. If we can play to our potential, I’m confident that a three or even a four-goal victory is perfectly achievable.
Taking our chances has proven to be a major weakness since Parkinson arrived, and being razor-sharp in front of goal will be crucial tomorrow. Clarity of thought, when the ball arrives at the striker’s feet, is key. No panic, be composed, and slot it away.
There will be nerves inside the stadium, perhaps inevitably, due to our poor recent form, but if the players can stand strong and view this as an opportunity to reignite our season, we. For me, the leadership qualities of Willis and Dobson, assuming they both play, will be crucial. Both have shown a good attitude so far this season, with Dobson in particular demonstrating that he understands what being a Sunderland player is all about.
Winning in style would be fabulous tomorrow.
Winning, full-stop, is of paramount importance.