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Talking Points: League One refs are CRAP; Sunderland are defensively sound, but need a striker!

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From awful refs, to clean sheet records, and the need for quality reinforcements - here are the main talking points from Sunderland’s draw with Doncaster on Friday.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

League One referees don’t get any better

I loathe to look at referees as an excuse when we don’t win, but it is getting beyond a joke as to how bad third-tier referees are, isn’t it? Even the Sky Sports pundits noticed how bad James Adcock was Friday night’s game, as they tore into his performance during their half-time analysis, so there can be no accusations of bias here, either.

For some bizarre reason, he didn’t seem to deem tackles above the waist as fouls, whilst he is the only man on the planet who appears to consider Charlie Wyke the kind of striker who likes to dive. We’ve had some terrible referees this past 18 months, but Adcock was right up there with one of the worst.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Third clean sheet in a row

For the first few months of this season, Sunderland keeping a clean sheet seemed almost impossible. Win, lose or draw - we always seemed to concede. However, straight from the school of Sam Allardyce, Parky seems to have sorted out our issues at the back. As such, as poor as we were, Doncaster never got a sniff - much like Wycombe Wanderers and MK before them.

It’s the first time Jon McLaughlin has kept three clean sheets in a row during his Wearside career and, had it not been for a questionable offside Lincoln City goal, it would have been four. Ozturk, Willis and Lynch all had good games on Friday night; it’s also nice to see some healthy competition arrive in Bailey Wright.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Desperate for extra bodies - and some quality up top

In isolation, this may be a good point come the end of the season. However, it was a sobering result after the last few weeks. The game was bland and showed that we still lack the quality to turn this good run of games into automatic promotion form.

We lack pace and power in the middle and still need extra firepower up top.

Darren Moore got his tactics spot on and there’ll be plenty teams who come to the Stadium of Light and do the same. A few people commented that we had no plan B, but to be fair to Parky, I think with the squad he has at his disposal, it’s hard to do anything other than change like-for-like at the moment.

Liam Boyce going to Hearts for £150k when we’ve supposedly had two bids turned down already does rankle a little after Stewart Donald said Parkinson would be backed in the transfer market. It’s less than a week until the window shuts and, once again, it seems there’s been no plan in place with recruitment, which just isn’t good enough.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images