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‘King’ Chris Maguire, Alim Ozturk & 3-5-2 - Sunderland fans tell us what SHOULD change on Friday

We asked our fellow supporters to let us know what they think needs to change in order to put Sunderland back on track, with common responses relating to the return of the King, Alim Ozturk and the 3-5-2 formation...

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Earlier this week we asked our readers what they thought needed to change in the wake of Saturday’s 4-5 defeat at home to Coventry City.

You answered en masse with a huge variety of answers - here’s a selection of responses from across our media platforms!

Remember to keep an eye out for weekly articles asking for your thoughts because we’ll publish a host of responses in a follow-up article.


Think we missed Catts in the middle. Coventry just went past Leadbitter and Power. Big Ozturk needs to start. Just defend, that’s all you have to do. Not spray passes around. If Catts can’t play, I’d put Honeyman in there for energy and tenacity.

John Ridley (@Ridderz86)

John suggested the absence of Lee Cattermole has been a mitigating factor in recent games. He also suggests that perhaps it’s time Ozturk was given a chance in the heart of Sunderland’s defence - agree with his thoughts?

442 without legs in the middle left us open. Switch to 4231 Friday. Or if Ross wants to try something new, a 532. Wings backs push high (will suit Oviedo), Leadbitter, Lee (or McGeoch) and Honeyman middle 3 - keeps 2 up top. Might be worth a try if McGeady misses out again.

Ben Turnbull (@BenDTurnbull)

Ben thought our tactical approach was perhaps an issue that could be tinkered with ahead of Friday night’s game at home to Doncaster. Would two midfielders shielding the back four give both security to the defence as well as provide service for a front four to flourish? Another one to suggest could be Chris Maguire - it’s entirely likely that the King will feature as part of Sunderland’s squads for the rest of the season.

Some shocking defending, but some of Coventry’s quick one touch passing was also impressive and has been overlooked. Once we saw that it was tactically naive not to protect the defence when we got back to 3-3.

Graeme Campbell (@GraemeCnote35)

Graeme, however, suggests that Coventry deserve more credit for their performance, but does note that perhaps Jack Ross should have reacted sooner to shore up the middle of the park in order to provide support for a faltering defence. Maybe a change we’ll see ahead of Friday’s game?

Lots of hot air spouted over the weekend, from change formation, to bring in a drum, to sack Jack. It’s true we need to improve, but by freshening personnel, cutting out individual mistakes, or by being a little more match savvy. Our job? Support. End of.

Paul Summerside (@summerside49)

Paul wasn’t so sure that some extreme reactions were warranted after the weekend. Our job as fans? Simply support the team. Do you agree?


Jack Ross know exactly what is wrong. We have two central defenders who lose concentration, show little confidence, hoof the ball up field aimlessly. Difficult for him to change things this late on, but Ozturk and Dunne have to be a consideration.

Tony Gordon

Tony wasn’t particularly sympathetic when discussing the performance of our central defenders. He isn’t the first to suggest that the no-nonsense approach afforded by Ozturk could be something to consider. Who would you rather have? Dunne or Ozturk?

3-5-2 with 3 centre backs, 2 holding central midfielders, Mcgeady attacking central midfielder, two attacking wing backs and Grigg and Wyke up front.

Ian Bell

As suggested earlier in the article by Ben Turnbull, Ian is keen to see Ross go with a 3-5-2 approach to keep our striker partnership intact. With injuries to several wingers, could this be a decent idea?

Just keep going and do your best. The Coventry game was a weird one, but we can still achieve automatic promotion - and I for one truly believe we will do it.

Michelle Stebbings

Michelle wasn’t so sure that much needs to be changed. The Coventry game did feel like a real anomaly, and with the character shown by the squad when bouncing back from difficult periods this season - perhaps Michelle has a point?

Roker Report Website

Three at the back with 2 wing backs who are prepared to graft, and a manager who has the nous to change things if they are not working.

Mordey st

Over on the Roker Report website, it’s safe to say that Mordey st wansn’t too impressed with Jack Ross’ decision not to tinker with his approach as the game edged away from Sunderland. Do you think three central defenders would be a smart move?

3 at back, but Leadbitter must be dropped - too slow and out of sorts. McGeouch back in as soon as fit and O’Nien moved to midfield

Also drop Grigg. I really hope Grigg is injured at present because if this is him fully fit we have wasted 4 million quid.

Sterling and Kimpioka more game time with Mumba in midfield to provide some energy. Too one paced all over the pitch


Paul was in agreement with Mordey, and bemoaned the absence of Dylan McGeouch who was seriously impressive before succumbing to injury in the draw at home to Burton. Paul was also slightly critical of Grigg despite his goal at the weekend, and thinks putting some faith in younger players could be a good idea to inject some energy into our side.

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