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Fan Letters: “Sunderland’s recruitment this season has not been good enough, simple as!”

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“In my opinion the main problem is player recruitment, and I think you have to point the finger at Tony Coton” writes RR reader Dave Haswell. What do you think - has Sunderland’s recruitment been good enough? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Roker Report

Dear Roker Report,

Once again Sunderland supporters are quick to criticise and make derogatory remarks regarding the teams performance and player selection. However Jack Ross can only make the best of those available and change the formation accordingly. In my opinion the main problem is player recruitment, and I think you have to point the finger at Tony Coton.

The list of top scorers in division one shows:

1st James Collins for Luton

14th Josh Maja for SAFC

31st Aiden McGeady for SAFC

To only have one current squad member 31st in the scoring list is appalling. Josh Maja should have been kept on loan till the end of the season as part of the transfer agreement. The recruitment of Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg in January were poor selections, scoring just 4 goals each. Tony Coton must take responsibility for these players he must have analysed and recommended them to the board.

Without a top league one goal scorer who leads the line well and scores it’s no wonder SAFC had so many draws the reason being failure to convert chances.

This problem is not Jack Ross’s but directly linked to recruitment and failing to land the best most suitable striker to enable all the draws to be converted to wins.

Lets get it right in the future.

Dave Haswell (SAFC supporter for over 60 years)

Ed’s Note [Gav]: It’s the big thing staring us in the face really - that had we actually signed players who offered us variety we might have won this league. I think it’s clear that we have a strong squad and that there’s a lot more in the way of quality in our ranks than most other sides in League One have, but ultimately the two transfer windows we had were not satisfactory.

It’s not that we didn’t sign enough players, it was that we didn’t sign the right mix of players. We have no variety and that means that whilst we have the bodies to change things around, we don’t necessarily have different types of players that would mix things up.

We failed to sign a big sh*thouse defender, a tall athletic midfielder, pacy strong wingers, a striker who can play off the shoulder of the last man - and had we done that I don’t think we’d have drawn so many games this season.

Hindsight is wonderful of course, but these are issues that have plagued Sunderland for almost as long as I can remember. Whilst we have a nice looking squad on paper, they’ve just not been capable of getting into a scrap with some of the more rugged sides. Ultimately, whatever division we are in next season we have to address that first and foremost.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

As we have not made the top two, my thoughts go to the playoffs.

I’m a fan of Ross but was very worried when he said in his post match interview that he would playing his best XI for the last two games. I bet Pompey and Charlton play their reserves, including goal keepers.

Do you agree our lads are cream crackered as shown in second half of matches?

Please Mr Ross play eleven squad players including the goalkeeper in case of injury against Southend to give our big guns a chance to rest for what will hopefully be a successful three games in play offs.

Kevin Smith

Ed’s Note [Gav]: To be fair, he changed things around on Tuesday even though we still had a tiny chance of going up automatically. On Saturday, though, there’s a little more riding on the game. We can have a say in Southend being relegated but more importantly we can win a game and give ourselves some momentum going into the play-offs.

Had we not lost on Tuesday I’d probably be more inclined to agree with you, but the fanbase feels low on confidence right now and I think winning this game - on live TV - means a lot when it comes to how people anticipate the first leg of the play-offs.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I wanted to write my views on the fans atmosphere on social media in the past couple of weeks and how we go forward to help the team.

I was at Peterborough away and when we scored that goal in the 85th minute I went mental, fell over and hurt my knee and my arm. At the time I couldn’t have given a flying f**k but after conceding almost straight away the bruise started to appear on my arm and metaphorically on the team. It was out of our hands and going into a game against a side we’ve not beaten this season in Portsmouth it was a winner takes all that ended with, ironically, Barnsley being said winner. I was still trying to have some optimism that we could beat Fleetwood and bring it to a final day miracle at Southend (probably because I had a ticket and wanted a reason to enjoy going to such a sh*thole) but alas we scuppered that chance as well.

I, like a lot of Sunderland fans I’ve spoken to, aren’t too optimistic about the play offs. Partly because of our history in the competition (remember Jeff Whitley’s ridiculous penalty) and our form at Wembley (‘73 was the last time we won) but I think now that it is confirmed we have to look at what we can do as fans. Wembley is now the aim and we have to do everything we can to ensure we win there this time and get promotion to the Championship. The atmosphere at the checkatrade was electric and despite the result I had a cracking weekend, let’s do it again!

People have questioned whether the squad is ready for the championship, the simple answer is no. But by not winning the league were clearly not equipped for the league we’re in. Whether we go up or not their will be changes made to the squad it just will be different targets depending on where we are. We have owners who have money and will back Ross to get the players he wants.

So my final stirring statement is: back the lads in all the games we have and turn around this sullen atmosphere we seem to have like it’s all over and done. We’re not m*gs so we shouldn’t act like them. Ha’way the lads let’s get to Wembley!

Rob Hadden

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Love the optimism. I’m not feeling quite as sprightly but there’s a lot to gain from embracing the fact we have the play-offs coming up. As I’ve said above, a win this weekend will have everyone believing again, I’m sure of it.