Dear Roker Report,
I received my Season Card for 2019/20 today.
I feel I have to report my disappointment - general quality is awful, including blurred printing and patchy colouring.
Who decided to change supplier, and who carried out any supplier audit.
Another disappointed decline in standards from SAFC.
Expected standards to be improved or at least maintained.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: My God. Are you actually for real? I can’t believe anyone actually cares enough about this to bother writing to us about it - yet more proof that there are sections of our support who will find any way they can to complain about even the most minute of issues. I don’t know how poor old Chris Waters gets through his day, to be honest. My head would pop off having to deal with stuff like this all the time.
Unless of course you’re a mag on a wind up, which is entirely possible.
Dear Roker Report,
I think we should go on the attack from the start and maybe there will be players who should be in the team on Saturday that maybe might miss out of the starting XI.
Let’s be brave and be positive! I want to see the lads really have a go at teams this season - no more sitting back. My team on Saturday would be a 3-4-3 formation set up to press high up the pitch, and I’m naming me team on that... so here it goes.
Jon McLaughlin; Ozturk, Willis, Flanagan; Conor McLaughlin, Dobson, Leadbitter, Hume; Embleton, McNulty, Grigg. SUBS: Patterson, Baldwin, O’Nien, Robson, McGeady, Watmore, Wyke.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I like your idea for pressing high and setting up in a 3-4-3, but I’m not quite sure about your starting XI! To me it’s lacking in two crucial things - width, and pace.
I like Alim Ozturk but I think the back three of McLaughlin, Willis and Flanagan looked good in pre-season and is our best bet to start off the season. All three are decent in the air, with Willis as the aggressive, pacey one down the middle and Flanagan and McLaughlin operating on either side as the ball-carriers.
At right wing back I’d like to see Luke O’Nien. I trust him more than I do Lynden Gooch, though really they’re much of a muchness in that role as both players work hard and are lacking in end product. Luke has a great first touch and positional awareness, which is key as we feel our way into the season using this new system.
In the middle I’d agree that Dobson has to start. He’s new here, of course, but he’s got a set of skills that none of the other central players have and that’s important. We’ve got to couple him with someone who can get around the park easily, which is why I wouldn’t play Leadbitter. Any from McGeouch, Power or Robson would be my choice, though I’m swaying towards Ethan as some youthful exuberance in the middle of the park could be refreshing.
Aiden McGeady showed last season that he doesn’t actually need a lot of practice games to be able to make an impact in the first team, and I’d be looking to start him in that left-hand number 10 position alongside Elliot Embleton, who I think has been Sunderland’s best player in pre season.
Up top... well. Grigg and Wyke have impressed nobody in pre-season and having scored a hattrick against Hartlepool on Monday I’d be tempted to throw Marc McNulty in at the deep end. When he came on against Heerenveen he worked his nads off and with him and Dobson on the pitch we looked loads better from an attacking perspective, and I’d like to see more of that if at all possible.
But, I don’t expect people to necessarily agree with me - my own mind keeps changing on what team should start day to day, and I’ve got no doubt that my mind will change again before Saturday!
Dear Roker Report,
Re: which forward should start on Saturday - it has to be Marc McNulty.
The other two forwards don’t know where the goal is!
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Can’t say that I’d disagree. Wyke and Grigg have had plenty of opportunities to prove their worth and haven’t done so successfully - give the new lad his chance and leave the other two to fight it out and show some balls in an attempt to get back into the team. We need healthy competition all over the park, and Grigg in particular needs to battle for his spot.