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ITHICS Fanzine: Which version of Sunderland will turn up against Gillingham?

Nic Wiseman of ITHICS Fanzine is worried about what the rest of the season holds for Sunderland after the last week of results. Just which version of Phil Parkinson’s side will turn up at the weekend against Gillingham?

Danny Roberts

It was all so predictable. Results all went in our favour on Saturday, a win would cement our promotion credentials against a decent, but not outstanding Coventry.

The pre-match build-up on Sky Sports had Super Kevin Phillips proclaim that we had the look of a promotion side about us. That we had developed the winning habit and that the consistent team selections were something to desire rather than worry about.

But after having warned about Coventry’s top goal scorer, Matt Godden, the team had clearly not been watching as it took all of 90 seconds for him to breach the meanest defence in the league. Once a goal up, all Coventry had to do was soak up our possession and pressure. Our attack was powder puff, Wyke had no edge and our best chances fell to Tom Flanagan. A defender. Why?

Wyke, Maguire, Lafferty, Semenyo and Gooch all failed to deliver.

Coupled with the last-gasp draw against pantomime villain Joey Barton and his Fleetwood side, it hasn’t been a good week for Sunderland.

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

Sunday’s performance was frustrating. Wayward passes everywhere. Coventry were no push overs, but they used their guile and game knowledge to brush aside a weak and gullible Sunderland side, who, despite their superior possession stats, just didn’t ever look like scoring.

The amount of tweets I saw on Saturday tea time - after the other results in the division had been very kind to us - saying it would be just like Sunderland to mess (euphemism alert) this up said it all. Not only did they mess it up, it’s hard to see them finishing in the automatic promotion places on the back of this performance.

But then they played the way they did against Wycombe, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers. Five wins in a row since the defeat by Portsmouth. Which Sunderland side will respond against Gillingham on Saturday? Will the Gills be blown away, or will we huff and puff?

We don’t seem to be able to play the top sides away, and our away record is not that of promotion contenders. Which is all the more worrying given that we only have four more games left at home left this season.

Will the final game of the season at second-placed Rotherham still be the top of the table clash it would if it were played now, or will we fail to react to our recent bad results?

Time will tell.

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