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Sunderland v Cheltenham Town - Sky Bet League One

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Roker Roundtable: Should Lee Johnson give two up front more of a chance this season?

With Nathan Broadhead and Ross Stewart linking up so well on Tuesday, will Lee Johnson look to reunite the pair when the Everton loanee returns from injury?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav says...

I don’t think that Johnson’s mentality right now is fixated on any one particular system or set of players. He’s pretty much consistently rotated his side out since the start of the season bar when performances have been so good that he literally cannot drop players. But, I can’t deny that Broadhead and Stewart looked brilliant together with McGeady, giving our front three some flow and purpose which Cheltenham simply couldn’t deal with.

From what I’ve seen of Broadhead, he’s very versatile and I reckon he’d be just as good playing off the right or the left, switching between playing as a traditional winger when having to be disciplined defensively, and joining up into the attack with Stewart and allowing the full-back to cover him on the flanks.

We have the tactical flexibility to be very fluid, given the options that we have, and that bodes well.

I’m just gutted that it looks like he’s done his hamstring, cos that means he’s going to miss a few games at least - a real shame given his man of the match performance warrants him a start in the coming games too.

Sunderland v Cheltenham Town - Sky Bet League One
Broadhead was superb on Tuesday
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

SAFC Merch says...

Lee Johnson has said a few times now how he likes the strength in depth we’ve got and how several players are showing him some versatility. That was clear to all against Cheltenham Town; as well as several others Stewart and Broadhead were both excellent and have shown that putting them together could be very fruitful.

I would be cautious about saying we should now play a front two every game however as not everybody will set up the same way as Michael Duff did and we might need to approach some teams differently. It means some players will miss out and that is going to be hard on them given the form they are showing, but I’d rather that than be one dimensional and easy to plan for.

Sunderland v Cheltenham Town - Sky Bet League One
Stewart impressed again
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale says...

This is quite a simple answer for me.

The coaching staff and the squad have shown that they now have the depth of both personnel and tactics to take on each team as they collectively feel they should.

Let’s not get back to being predictable by repeating last time, as we were under Parkinson and at times Jack Ross too. Let’s keep the opposition guessing by formulating a strategy based on our strengths (and their weaknesses), and play our game to deliver that outcome, one match at a time.

We won’t always get the tactics right, and when we do we may not execute them as perfectly as we did against Cheltenham. The Bolton game before it was very nearly a draw. The Fleetwood game was nearly (and should have been) a win, and the outcome with Burton was we lost after a great performance. As fans, we can see an approach being executed now. That makes me as a fan happy to forgive the odd bad day at the office. We all have them.

If we continue to do what we are doing, playing what the squad and coaching staff think is our best option against each opponent, we will prevail more than we will struggle.

If we do that to the level we have for the last couple of months, we will be promoted without a doubt.

Hats off to Johnson, Speakman and the team. They finally seem to have a great methodology in place for SAFC. Long may it thrive and improve.

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