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Sunderland need to “build a base” around the coaching staff

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Phil Parkinson’s backroom staff had an impact, and Will Jones argues we need to go further to allow the players to flourish.

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

During the course of a managers tenure, the phrase “wanting to bring their own people in” refers to not just playing staff, but non-playing staff also. Managers almost always bring in their own backroom staff, people that they trust can get the best performances out of the squad they have obtained and will be able to develop. But how important are these background figures?

Very, is the short answer. You need leadership figures who bring out the best performances in the squad and can help identify weakness in the squad and individuals and develop them into assets.

We saw this as recently with the employment of Nick Allamby by Phil Parkinson as Sunderland’s Physical Performance Coach in November 2019. Under Jack Ross we had seemed unable to see out a victory, when we too often witnessed the team gassing out after an hour.

The squad were regularly being called “unfit” and “leggy” after every performance. However, within 6 weeks of Allamby’s appointment to the backroom staff, we seemed to have a new team. We would finish as strongly as we started, and every player looked ‘trim’. It felt like the start of something good, and it was. We won 9 out of 12 games between 29th December to 22nd of February, which, after our form in November was a delight.

The issue is, we do not have enough staff making the kind of impact on players that Mr Allamby has.

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One
Sunderland’s fitness coach, Nick Allamby, has had a big impact on Phil Parkinson’s side
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Right now, we have three coaches, after the manager and his assistant, of which Nick Allamby is one. The other two are Andrew Taylor, the first team coach, and Lee Butler the goalkeeping coach. If we bought in specialist coaches to help develop the attack (finishing, positioning and off the ball movement) and a defence (defensive lines, marking and tackling), it would help ease the load of the current staff and would benefit the players too. I mean, it isn’t like we don’t have the facilities - they need to be used!

We need the club to employ staff to do things like show people round the academy (like Jack Ross was having to), so we can have the coaches working with the players (the job they are being paid to do) and we would surely reap the benefits.

But the cost cutting being done has slimmed Sunderland to the point we are not being efficient. We were told from very early on that Bally was going to be utilised to a fuller extent, is he? I have heard nothing on this.

At the end of the day, we have the facilities, we have the pulling power. Why don’t we build a team around the coaching staff, so the players can benefit from their tutelage?

We have seen what competent staff can do, what can be achieved in such a small period of time. Bring them in, pay the money and it might even stop players coming in for an “easy pay day”.

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images