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Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Reader’s Corner: Questions to be answered...

RR reader Michael Atkinson breaks down what we’ve learned about our squad so far this season, and asks many questions of his fellow Sunderland supporters... Fancy writing? RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk - send us an email!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

We are now 15 games into the season, and by this time fans can usually see the level at which their team is playing and therefore their potential chances of promotion, relegation or mid-table mediocrity.

A month ago all seemed great and we were seemingly heading for a season in or around the top two with promotion a very real possibility at last. Now, with any young team there will be bumps in the road, but the last few games have been more like a sinkhole.

Where has it all gone wrong?

There are some questions that I would like to invite opinion on from this forum.


What has gone wrong?

The debacle at Portsmouth was awful but maybe can be explained by Portsmouth playing the conditions better than us, and yes, it’s the same for both teams, but they handled it better.

Confidence drained further with a home loss to previously under-performing Charlton. Then the horror show at Rotherham. Yes, we had a man sent off but we were a beaten side already. Now we lose 3-0 at Sheff Wed.

What has happened to our exciting young players?

As with any young player who hasn’t played very much 1st team football, you will inevitably see a dip in form at some point. This is happening now to Doyle, Cirkin, Dajaku, Hoffmann and Neil. This is where a manager needs to step in, and maybe take them out of the firing line with a view to restoring their confidence and reintroducing them back into the side.

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

What has happened to our defence?

Although not exactly watertight, our defence was looking pretty good until Pompey. What I saw at the Rotherham game was nothing short of terrible - crosses into our box and no SAFC player able to get a head on it first. It’s basic defending and it’s not like we’re short of height back there. Is it all down to confidence?

Is it our tactics?

Much has been said on this forum about Johnson’s tactics. The question of 2 or 3 in midfield. What do you think? We have certainly been overrun lately by teams in that area.

The McGeady conundrum

Even during our good start to the season, our talisman was some way below his best. Was he still gaining match fitness after his injury, or has Old Father Time finally begun to catch up with him? What do you think - is he better as an impact sub now?

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

What about Lee Johnson?

Reading the comments on this forum it is clear that Lee Johnson has as many supporters as he does detractors.

Is he your cup of tea?

All I would say is that had we won those recent games, some who are calling for his head would probably be calling for him to be given the freedom of the city. It really is true that you are only as good as your last result.

Personally, I am sick of the revolving door management that we have suffered with for more than a decade. It doesn’t work. The new owner has a good plan, a sustainable one. Lee Johnson is part of that along with Speakman & others in recruitment.

Johnson wants us to keep the faith and I for one think we should and trust that continuity will finally bear fruit. Of course, there’s a limit, we all know that, but this run of horrific results, though a massive concern, should not derail the club from the bigger picture - the long-term goal. Who would come in to replace Johnson? I hope we hold our nerve.

After what seemed like plain sailing, all of a sudden we have more questions than answers with regards to where this season is heading. I have offered some of my opinions to the questions but it is just that, an opinion.

What does everyone else think?

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