On fresh investment coming into the club...
I think it’s great for the club and it gets the club in a strong position - that’s what the chairman wanted, and it’s good news for everybody.
Does it mean anything for January?
I think for any owner but also for the supporters they want the long term future of the club secure, and fresh investment can help that. It’s all round good news, and at the right time - when we’ve got through this Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday run of games, we’ll all sit down and see what it means in terms of squad improvements in January.
On how January plans are going...
When I came in we all agreed that we were going to use this period of games - cos we knew that there was a lot of games coming up - for me and Steve [Parkin] to assess all the players and have a good look at everything, in terms of the U23s as well, are any of those ready and all the first team players, and then sit down and have a chat about what we feel we need to push us on.
We’ve already had a chat with Tony Coton, the Head of Recruitment, about our early thoughts because it’s important that he’s out there watching the players we may be looking at.
There’s always a process in place but we’ve been here a few weeks now and it’s a case of still assessing everybody in this run of games and then sitting down when we’ve got that spare week.
On the Oxford game...
We changed the shape of the team really because personnel dictated that, but also we’ve got players that can play in a back three and I think we’ve got to have that ability to adapt within games or throughout the season.
It was a good exercise in looking at the players in that shape and, on reflection, we should have had the game dead and buried before penalties.
How do you assess the first few games?
We had a review with the lads this morning about the last few games, spoke about what we’ve done well, creating chances, earlier crosses into the box for our strikers, but we have to be clinical and have that ruthless edge about our play, and the one stat where we are falling short on is the percentage of shots and how many of those hit the target and make goalkeepers work.
We’ve got players with the ability to do that, and I think we’ve got to demand it out of each other, and we’ve gone through that with the players - that’s not just on a matchday, but in training as well.
But a lot of the play in terms of what we’re looking for in terms of the intensity and making the opposition back three or back four work, we’ve got to add what we showed against Tranmere into the games coming up which was a real clinical side to our game.
On playing Southend...
You’ve got to give every team respect and I think the minute you don’t you come unstuck, so we’ll prepare professionally in terms of what Southend have done in recent games - obviously paying special attention to Sol’s first game last week against Ipswich.
Like I say, there’s always one eye on how we think they’ll play but for us a large percentage of it tomorrow is about what we’ve done well, what we need to improve on going into this game.
On Sol Campbell and the good job he did in his last job...
Yeah he did - nobody expected Macclesfield to stay up - he’s got the capabilities of doing it again with Southend I’m sure.
On the injuries - what problems do we have?
Joel [Lynch] is fine - he got a bang on his knee. Yesterday he stayed in the treatment room, today he’s trained. Goochy is still not out on the grass. Charlie Wyke is hopefully gunna start running next week. Burgey has still got a problem with his thigh - it’s not a serious injury but it’s not progressed as quickly as we would have hoped.
Duncan Watmore has had a virus this week and we’re gonna have to assess him carefully, because obviously when you get a virus it can reduce your energy levels. He’s done some of the training this morning but we’re gunna look closely at him tomorrow and decide what we do.
On the upcoming international break - will we seek a postponement?
We’re gunna get this weekend’s game out the way and have a meeting with the medical department this week, because obviously the concern is that Jon McLaughlin goes to Scotland and Lee has got this problem with his thigh.
Straight away that gives us a problem so we need to look at that and see how he progresses over the weekend - obviously we are set to lose quite a few players.
On Will Grigg’s missed penalty...
You’ve just got to pick yourself up as a striker.
First of all to put yourself up to take a penalty - you get the plaudits when they go in, if it misses then obviously you get the headlines for the wrong reason, but you’ve got to dust yourself down and be ready to go again.
On Grigg’s form...
Like I said in my first press conference, if you look at the Tranmere game he got his goal, Shrewsbury - crosses coming in, he was so close to getting that goal.
We’ve got to work and keep improving on the service our front players get, and if we do that we’ve got the players to get the goals as we showed against Tranmere.
On what investment says about the size of the club...
I think everybody in the football world knows the size of Sunderland the potential.
It’s a very attractive club for people wanting to invest in, because obviously once we get the club off and running again and start going up the divisions, the fanbase as everybody knows - the potential is terrific and you can see why the club would attract investment.
On what positives we can take from Oxford...
I think the way that we came back into the game in the second half - and we’d had some good chances in the first period - I thought was excellent. One - the drive and the fitness levels of the Lads to get back in it, and some of the football we played was great, but we didn’t make the most of the opportunities we had.
Of course, I can’t not mention the penalty decisions in this press conference because the more you look at them the more infuriating they are, especially the second one so late in the game when Luke is set to shoot from eight yards out and gets brought down.
Not getting that big decision was certainly a blow for us, and I felt the performance warranted that little bit of luck, one or two of those decisions going our way.
On whether playing a team with a new manager harms our prep work...
They’ve only had the one game really with Sol so we haven’t got a lot of pattern to build up about what he may or may not do, so when that is the case I tend to touch on ‘this is what they did last week, this is how they played’, HOWEVER - we’ve got to be prepared that they could do something different, but let’s concentrate on what we need to well ourselves in our own play, and that’s what we’ve spoke about in the limited time on the training pitch we’ve gone through this morning with the players.
On the importance of good home form...
I think it’s about creating an intensity.
When you look at the Tranmere game, for instance, we knew that Tranmere and Southend would come and try to slow the game down, and I’ll expect that tomorrow so we’ve got to counteract that, expect it, and we’ve got to play a real pace with and without the ball. Can we move the ball quickly? When we lose it, can we get it back quickly? And really speed this game up tomorrow - and if we can do that, the fans will give us the same backing as we got against Tranmere.
On Wyke and Gooch...
He’s [Charlie] going to start running on Monday, so we’d still probably say he’s another two weeks away from playing. Goochy went out on the grass earlier this week and it didn’t react very well, so we’ve kinda had to take him back a bit.
Both lads are so determined to get back going and we don’t wanna hold them back, but equally we want them back and we want them fit and ready to go.