Where is Bryan Oviedo?
I can’t be the only Sunderland supporter who thinks there’s something odd going on with Bryan Oviedo. We were told he had a groin injury, and then subsequently that he was back in full training... so where is he? Why hasn’t he been in any of our recent matchday recent squads? If he’s fit, why did Adam Matthews play out of position both on Tuesday and then on Saturday in place of Reece James?
He’s not been seen anywhere near a matchday squad since before his deadline day move to West Brom broke down - surely, that cannot be a coincidence?
James has a flaky injury record at best and, in my opinion, Oviedo is our best left full back. Is he being left out for tactical reasons, or attitude reasons?
I’m just trying to wrap my head around where he actually is and why he’s not featured recently. Some clarity on the situation would be useful, particularly ahead of some tough games in which we could really use a player of Oviedo’s ability in our matchday squad.
How bad are Flanagan and Watmore’s injuries?
Tom Flanagan left the field with a head injury on Saturday, whilst Duncan Watmore was on the receiving end of a horrendous challenge by the idiotic Marcus Bean in the final throws of injury time - an appalling tackle that really could have caused the recently-recovered attacker long term damage.
How serious are both issues, and will they keep either man out of the running for a place in Tuesday night’s squad at Barnsley?
Flanagan and Dunne were very poor on Saturday but, regardless, we must try and keep a settled side and I’d like to see us give the partnership longer to flourish.
They were decent in the game against Plymouth and then at Bristol Rovers last weekend, and for that reason I’d be reluctant to break them up for tactical reasons. But if Flanagan is missing for Tuesday that’s a real blow - we need to try and head to Barnsley without changing the team around too much.
Will we appeal George Honeyman’s red card?
Sunderland captain George Honeyman was caught up in a daft situation on Saturday, one which saw him receive a red card despite leaving the field earlier in the second half when he was subbed off by Jack Ross.
Having watched it back, I’m not really sure it was worthy of a red. Sure, it caused some needless handbags between the two benches but it was nothing more than a shove as a result of the behaviour of the antagonistic Wycombe coach who prevented our players from taking a quick throw in.
Honeyman, obviously provoked by all that came before it too (Wycombe are perhaps the dirtiest team we’ve faced in years) made a mistake but we saw worse incidents than that go unpunished in the game.
Since Saturday we’ve also learned that the game with Fleetwood - originally scheduled for the 23rd of March - has been postponed due to international call ups, which means that Honeyman’s suspension will carry into the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley.
Whatever you think of Honeyman, not being able to lead the side out on that day will be a massive blow to him. He’ll be made to pay for a moment of madness should the red result in a three game ban.
So, I suppose it depends on what the red was given for in the eyes of the ref. Will it be one game, or three? It would be useful to find out this from Jack Ross today, who will be understandably keen to have his captain in his side when we head to the capital at the end of the month.
If the ban is as I suspect a three-game one, will we be appealing it?
We certainly have nothing to lose.