Tom Albrighton says...
If rumours are to be believed I doubt it will be just Sunderland partaking in an extended break in the coming weeks.
That being said, if the football machine continues to rumble on this break can be only good for a now faltering Sunderland side. In the world of golf during the off-season players will have themselves a break where they don’t even touch their golf clubs, something similar may do Sunderland the world of good - it allows for a total mental reset.
Using the time wisely could place our season firmly back on track. The players recently have looked tired both mentally and physically, so there is no doubt in my mind a break will allow the players to firstly rest, second reset and finally prepare for the final fifth of the season.
Not many sides this season will have been given an opportunity to take time out to go back to the drawing board, to rejuvenate and refine. Such a notion goes hand in glove with the subsequent mini-pile up of fixtures. We all know the virtues of going on a good run and how that momentum carries forward. With fresh legs, rested minds and a newfound eagerness a small pile-up of games in quick succession can allow Sunderland to get some much-needed traction going forward into the finals throes of the season.
Just like Champ at Cheltenham, this season is crying out for a team to take the final fence and thunder on to the finish line. For everyone’s sake and sanity, let’s hope that will be us.
Mark Carrick says...
Without a doubt Phil Parkinson needs to find a way of saving both our season and, potentially, his job.
Parkinson was brought in with the very simple remit of getting Sunderland promoted. A poor run of results in his opening 14 games certainly gave him a mountain to climb but, somehow, he brought the Lads right back into the mix with 9 wins from the next 12 games. Cracks were undoubtedly beginning to show, however, and a recent four game run without a win is now cause for further concern.
Unwilling or unable to change the side, the last few weeks have seen players dip in form, look exhausted and simply running out of ideas. Mentally, these last few weeks have been challenging, so it’s no wonder we have seen the wheels somewhat wobble on the promotion bus.
Having a break now not only gives the players time to recharge, physically and mentally, but gives Parkinson and his staff invaluable time on the training ground to work on options - be they resource, tactics or formations.
Sunderland need to come into these last eight games with renewed impetus and vigour if the events, and relative failure, of last season is not to be repeated.