Most fans – myself included – believe Sunderland have enough quality in the current squad to achieve automatic promotion this season.
The thought of a new manager, or indeed a head coach working under a sporting director, is an appealing one as we all hope he’ll find that elusive winning formula.
But there’s no guarantee that positive change will come immediately, even if we do find the right manager, or indeed a head coach to work under a sporting director.
We’re very much in the promotion mix with two thirds of the season to go, but we don’t have much time to give the new man a honeymoon period.
Saturday’s home game against the league’s basement side Wigan should be three comfortable points.
It is a concern that, just a day before a crucial game, we don’t know who will be in charge. Andrew Taylor showed little signs of moving away from Parkinson’s safety first approach, while any new manager would be coming in cold.
We all know about the ‘new manager bounce’, and have experienced it as the likes of Di Canio and Advocaat steered us away from relegation in the Premier League.
But they were both appointed in March, at the business end of the season. Big Sam was another high profile success, but he was an early-season appointment in October, and needed time to put his measures in place and establish a team with vital partnerships in defence, midfield and attack.
I was encouraged to see Taylor start with Embleton in an advanced role against Burton, and I thought that with a solid midfield in Leadbitter, Scowen and Power, we’d have enough to win the game comfortably.
It didn’t transpire, but perhaps given a handful of games, Taylor would gradually move towards a more attack minded approach.
It’s what we’d all love to see. My view is that we have the personnel to make success of the 4-2-3-1 which could have led Jack Ross to both league and cup success had we been tighter at the back.
Now with Bailey Wright and Jordan Willis at the heart of a back four, flanked by Denver Hume and the much improved Connor McLoughlin, we have a solid base on which to build.
Leadbitter would sit in front of the back four alongside either Power or Scowen, with potential for an exciting trio of attacking flair ahead of them.
Ross had McGeady, Maguire and Gooch providing ammunition for Josh Maja to great effect before the youngster’s untimely departure from the club.
The aforementioned trio remain, however, although Gooch is injured while McGeady is not currently a member of the 25 man first team squad.
This is something a new gaffer could rectify, while Luke O’Nien could be deployed in a more advanced role once recovered from his injury sustained in midweek.
We need instant results to keep ourselves in the promotion pack, but the worry for me is that it could take half a dozen games to bed in a new system.
We must make the right appointment, but it’s worrying that we’re once again in a position where we are expecting someone to come in mid-season without really having much time to get settled in.
Perhaps the sensible approach in the short term would be to go with a more attack-minded version of our current 3-5-2 and get games won without sitting back nervously on a one-goal lead.