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Fan Letters: Where does Max Power’s conversion leave O’Nien, & should we try Diamond centrally?

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Can we expect some January transfers, where does Power’s conversion leave Luke, and would Diamond offer more through the middle? It’s all covered in today’s mailbag. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

Sunderland v Port Vale - EFL Trophy Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

A lot is written about the salary cap in League One and the problems it can cause so the clubs need to balance their finances efficiently.

At Sunderland Lee Johnson has his hands tied somewhat because of an overload of players, particularly in midfield. We have Max Power, Chris Maguire, George Dobson, Luke O’Nien, Josh Scowen, Grant Leadbitter, Carl Winchester, Elliot Embleton, Lynden Gooch, Jack Diamond, Aiden McGeady and Aiden O’Brien who are all aged over 21.

A total of 12 players plus Dan Neil who will be pushing for spot in the squad if he can maintain his progress after an outstanding performance against Port Vale. LJ and his team have their work cut out to decide which of this list they will try to move on as it is doubtful that there will be a queue of clubs waiting to take them.

With eight members of the list having contracts which will end this year plus 13 others in the squad it looks like we will have wait until the summer before any significant changes to the squad can be made.

Stuart Lathan

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Once again we’ll see a summer of major upheaval I think Stuart. Hopefully we’ll be able to make a couple more signings this month to add to our attacking prowess - however that’ll depend on how we are fixed salary cap-wise. The big unknown is what we will do with any offers that come in this month - the likes of Willis and Hume will surely attract interest, and if there’s a half-decent offer on the table we may be tempted to accept rather than risk losing them for free in the summer. If that happens we could see an influx of new players sooner than we thought.


Dear Roker Report,

If Max Power is now a right back, where does Luke O’Nien fit in?

The captain’s position to lose surely?

Graham Wearing

Ed’s Note [Martin]: It’s an interesting situation isn’t it? Power allegedly has asked to play there, and with Winchester’s arrival maybe he saw it as his best chance of retaining his place in the team. Hopefully, he does well there – the early signs have been promising. Regarding O’Nien, he’s done pretty well at right back over the past few seasons, however I would like to see him given a chance further up the field. I think he’s quite a natural finisher, and would score goals if played in a more attacking role. Regardless, don’t be surprised if Johnson gives him a chance as the most advanced of the three in midfield when he returns.

Sunderland v Port Vale - EFL Trophy
Is Power now our first choice right back? Graham thinks so.
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Just a thought – seeing him bear down on goal for the penalty the other night... why not play Jack Diamond up front in the middle along with Wyke (if Wyke is 1st choice forward or whoever else is). They could feed off each other? Jack has the speed we’re looking for, quick of thought and action... I think I see a bit of Craig Russell in there. Just a thought, could save us a bit money. Stay safe, and forever red n white.

Rusty Mackem

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Interesting thought, Rusty. I think Diamond is an excellent prospect and believe he has a lot to offer. Given his relative inexperience, though, I’d argue all parties will benefit more from keeping him in his proper position rather than playing him through the middle.

I think he offers an awful lot carrying the ball forward from wide areas and, as we saw against Lincoln, he can offer a goal threat from wide, too.

I think there is a likeness to Russell in his pace and how he carries the ball at speed - Russ suffered being played out wide though, rather than through the centre. I’d be reluctant to make a similar mistake in reverse with Diamond.

However, we definitely need to change things through the middle, and if Gooch and/or the January transfer window don’t solve the problem, it could be worth a try!

Sunderland v Port Vale - Papa John’s Trophy
Is it worth trying Diamond through the middle?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I enjoyed Colin’s email about his eight visits to Wembley and agree with his sentiments.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend seven as I missed out on the ballot for a ticket on the only time we won. It still galls me to this day as it was the only cup game that season that I missed.

As I’m only 69, I might yet see the lads win at Wembley.

Keep safe everyone,

Stuart Anderson

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Can’t believe you missed out on 73 after being at the rest of the games, Stuart. Although given that we did win on the one occasion you missed out, maybe it’s safer you stay at home next time we get there! Only joking – hope we get there soon and we can all enjoy seeing us win something. After the past few years, it’s the least we deserve!

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-off - Final - Wembley Stadium
Stuart hopes it’ll be 8th time lucky at Wembley
Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images