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Fan Letters: ‘Sunderland’s recruitment should be questioned!’

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“For me once again recruitment should be questioned” says RR reader Paul, who feels that Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson wasn’t adequately equipped with the type of players he wanted in January. Send us your thoughts: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Coventry City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I fear another season in league one beckons. One point & One goal against two rivals in the top six does & will not get us promoted.

For me once again recruitment should be questioned. Parkinson lamented the lack of pace & power in the Sunderland side when he took over, something that he was keen to address in the January window. Was it? Only Bailey Wright of the January recruits looked like being a regular with the others being bit part players, but pace & power?

The next 4 games are crucial , all of which are ultimately winnable & need to be won. If we win these games I strongly believe top two will be ourselves & Coventry. Anything less it’s the play offs & defeat in the semis as the likes of Peterborough, Oxford or Portsmouth will rise to the occasion & will more than likely beat us over two legs.

Paul Wood

Ed’s Note [Damian]: Indeed, the next four games are crucial Paul, and recruitment becomes a greater concern as the weeks roll by. A couple of nasty injuries have plunged the selection policy into chaos and, coupled with Parkinson’s stubborn refusal to drop Wyke in favour of one of his other - albeit equally unreliable - attackers, we find ourselves wondering where the goals are supposed to be coming from.

That being said, much as I would love to avoid the play-offs entirely, I think it would be an injustice to go into that situation thinking that the lads couldn’t pull it off. It’s not what any of us want but even under Ross our hopes were dashed by a last minute travesty of a ball, bundled over the line. We weren’t defeated by a better team, we were just unlucky AF. Such is football I suppose.

Coventry City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Thank you for providing this forum. I qualify my comments by disclosing I’m from the USA and have followed Sunderland intently for only two years; streaming every match I can get and reading your report daily.

I’ve come around to the 3-4-3 or 3-2-5, and feel it suits the squad, coach and level of competition. I also agree we need a change, if for nothing else then to ask more difficult questions of the competition. We’ve become very predictable with the managers predisposition to form, tool and function. He’s got a hammer and everything is a nail.

My suggested changes:

1. O’Nein to right back. He does much better in an overlap position and is a quality defender. He lacks quality to finish in the attack.

2. Willis to center back, for obvious reasons.

3. Flanagan has earned the left back position in my estimation, and arguably was the player of the match against Coventry. His ability to initiate with a penetrating pass has really improved.

4. Hume, Power, Scowen and Gooch across the middle, with Power on a short leash. We need midfielders with a mind to assist.

5. Lafferty, Maguire and Grigg in the attack. I’ve seen enough of Wyke and Semenyo is not ready. Let Lafferty be the airborn target and Grigg and Maguire look to assist and finish. This is the role Grigg is most comfortable in.

I realize this is a significant change from what we’ve seen lately, but not too unfamiliar. It’s time for the manager to show us he’s not a one-trick-pony. Go Sunderland!

Rob Good (Connecticut, USA)

Ed’s Note [Gav]: The data shows that Luke O’Nien is an incredibly influential player, and he links up individually with his teammates more than any other player in the league. I’d be keen to not change his role in the side else we risk compromising one of the things that actually makes us tick.

I think our system is fine, but the personnel isn’t. Phil Parkinson has signed six players and if you take the injured Bailey Wright out of the occasion, none of them have been given a chance to prove their worth or show why they are better than the players currently keeping them out of the side. This feels like an ideal opportunity to shake things up a bit and take players like Hume, Wyke and Gooch out of the team, but I don’t think Parky will.

Time will tell whether his insistence on picking the same XI was worthwhile.