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Has the international break been a good thing, or has the time out ramped up the pressure?

Do you think the timing of the international break was a good thing to give time for the squad to regroup and focus, or will the time out have meant the extra time might have increased the pressure to get a result against Ipswich?

Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says...

I am tempted to say 6 of 1, half a dozen of the other!

For instance, it sounds like Tom Flanagan has played tremendously for Northern Ireland, and may well have reignited his early-season form. If the other players away on international duty have had a similar experience, this break might be considered positive.

But what about the players back at base camp?

Well, if Lee Johnson and his team have anything about them, they will have been working on formation and fitness, as well individual work around roles and getting each individual in their respective ‘zone for optimum performance’.

A break can sometimes be as good as a rest for some, too.

I have high expectations of the Lee Johnson and Kristjaan Speakman team and their ability to get the subtleties right, so I think they will have welcomed the break to a degree.

The games against Bradford and Mansfield were not particularly encouraging with regards to playing ourselves out of our slump in form, irrespective of the players absent on international duty.

So the answer to the question is... maybe, but time will tell.

Let’s hope it tells us as early as Saturday tea time with points in the bag following a rollicking performance from the Lads.

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

Martin Wanless says...

In football, the old ‘we want to get back out there as quickly as possible’ line is trotted out with some predictability, and on a lot of occasions, it’s true.

This isn’t one of them.

The past few games have been awful, there’s no shying away from that, but in football, the impact of the short-term results can often snowball into something they shouldn’t.

The international break has come at a perfect time for all of us. We’ve had a couple of weeks to let things settle down a bit, gain some perspective on what has actually been a pretty solid start to the season.

Lee Johnson and his staff will have had some space to assess what’s gone wrong in recent games, and have a bit of a reset. The players will have had some time off – and those who’ve been away have had some positive international results – and hopefully, that will have served them well, too.

A bit of space to clear your head’s invaluable at the best of times, and I’m hoping it’ll have served us well as we begin this new chapter of the season on Saturday.

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Joseph Tulip says...

I’m very much of the opinion that the furore over our recent bad run of form has been blown out of proportion. It’s a long season and our ultimate goal of promotion is still very much on the table.

There have been times in the past when international breaks have been a hindrance as they can disrupt momentum, but I actually think this has been a good one for our whole club and fanbase.

For a start, it has given some of our injured players a chance to rest after weeks of Tuesday, Saturday football, and will hopefully mean we have a stronger squad available for the Ipswich game.

Secondly, I hope it has given everyone associated with our club a chance to take a step back and take stock of the fact that despite a poor run, we still have such a lot to play for during what could be a very successful season.

I include fans here. I respectfully disagree with those who have been calling for a change of manager/head coach and believe he and our squad will quickly turn things around and get us back on track.

The international break will have enabled Lee Johnson and his coaching staff time to work with players on the training ground, to focus on where recent games have gone wrong.

The Ipswich game can be a fresh start for us. If we win, great, if not, let's not get too worried. Let’s have faith in the people who have led us to several happy days already this season, and back them to bring us many more.

I’ve seen several promotion campaigns and we’ve recovered from far less prosperous positions than this. It’s just a bad run, now let’s try and move on from it.

Remember, we have many young and inexperienced players. There were never any guarantees with this group, but they have given us much hope with the exciting football we know they are capable of.

Let’s give them our unwavering support against Ipswich and beyond.

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