The Big Man...
It’s starting to feel like Charlie Wyke’s sharp upturn in form could be what ends up ultimately making the difference when it comes down to whether or not we finish second.
Whilst the big money was spent on Will Grigg in January to bring us match-winning striker performances, Wyke has shown for a number of weeks now that he’s perhaps more capable than Grigg is at dragging his team through these tough games.
Wyke was persistent and imperious up against the Doncaster defence, winning practically every header and challenge he went for.
His knock down for Lewis Morgan’s opener was superb, as was his positioning when the Donny keeper decided it was a good time to go wandering. You have to think that chances like the one he had handed on a plate to him just don’t come around when you’re lacking in form and confidence - and now that Wyke is getting on the scoresheet regularly it’s fair to say that he’s providing us with exactly what we expected we’d see from him when he was signed last summer.
It was great singing his name at the end of the game, and the fact the fans feel such affection for a player who had provided us only with disappointment up until a few weeks ago shows just how quickly your luck can change in football.
When players give it their absolute best effort, fans respond by showing love back to them. Here’s hoping Wyke continues to thrive on the fact that, right now, he’s Sunderland’s most important player.
Whilst it wasn’t by any means a perfect performance, I was suitably impressed by Sunderland’s defence yesterday and the way they got about their business comfortably under a fair bit of pressure.
Having conceded five goals in the game before it was up to the five men in Sunderland’s back-line to prove exactly why they should be starting every week, and I think that they all did themselves justice.
Keeping a clean sheet was huge, as was the fact that we got through without any real major issues. It was a huge call from Jack Ross to drop both of his central defenders, and in fairness to Alim Ozturk and Jimmy Dunne they coped well.
John Marquis is perhaps the most deadly centre forward in League One but he barely got a sniff, and similarly it was up to Bryan Oviedo to keep powerful winger Mallik Wilks quiet - job done, I say.
Luke O’Nien had came under a bit of criticism for his performance against Coventry too so it was nice to see him go back to basics and perhaps focus a little more on his positioning, ensuring that James Coppinger’s supply to Marquis was restricted.
So, credit where it’s due. It’d be daft if Ross changed around personnel for the sake of it when we head to Peterborough, although I’m expecting that we’ll be tested far more by The Posh, who have pace and power all over their front-line.
Whilst most of the talk (on these pages at least!) this week has been around ways to improve the atmosphere, it has to be said that the crowd were probably as loud as they’ve been all season yesterday.
I guess a combination of everyone being off work, a later kick off (meaning more time in the pub) and us taking an early lead were the main factors, as was the fantastic flag display that was held prior to kick off in the Roker End.
If we can be as vocal as that every week then there’ll be no need for talk of drums!