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Fan Letters: Is it time that we gave Younger, Patterson & Diamond a proper run in the side?

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Lots of talk in the pre-match edition of Fan Letters about bringing in young players - such as Younger, Patterson and Diamond - in an effort to gain better form and head back on the right path. What do you reckon?

Sunderland v Port Vale - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I read recently that you considered the constant change of managers the reason for our current plight. I wholeheartedly agree with you and would like to expand on the subject further.

Ever since Peter Reid left the club we have had a succession of managers who, at the first opportunity brought in 5 or 6 players - in fact, I believe Roy Keane brought in 10 when he got us promoted. The problem is, with the possible exception of big Sam, all we ever bought were players who at best were only on a par with what we already had, and in many cases weren’t even as good. We never tried to buy 1 or maybe 2 top quality players to create a framework which to build on in the following seasons with further top draw additions. I think quality over quantity would have paid dividends.

My next point is the academy. In a league where half the teams are forced to scour League Two and below to try to find a diamond in the rough to survive in this dross league, we are told we have a world-class academy.

We search far and wide to find the best young talent, we nurture them, we coach them in the skills and techniques required to be a top class modern footballer, we educate them in the tactical and positional systems required to succeed at the highest level, we train them so that they are perfectly capable of preforming 90 minutes of total all out football, we even have sport phycologists to bolster their confidence and self-worth. Why, then, do we not have at least one graduate every year that can shine in this frankly dire league?

This brings us to our current manager - I can understand some fans’ dismay, he seems to pick his teams by drawing names out of a hat. His best achievement so far was the EFL Trophy win against MK Dons, but he then dropped some of our better performers and went back to the same old same olds, and gets embarrassed by the same opponents. The only academy grad he seems to wants to play is Leadbetter, who at two games a week is slowing to a standstill.

Why are our managers afraid of home grow talent? Diamond, Neil, Patterson and Younger are all bit-part players. The current two goalkeepers are uninspiring - why not give Patterson a chance? Remember Leeds are playing a 19-year-old in goal in the Premier League. Vokins was brought from another club and has been a disaster so far - if he was from our academy he would be cleaning the toilet after his first game.

Finally, for all those still hopeful of promotion, teams that romp this league struggle in the Championship, never mind those that scrape in by the skin of their teeth. Please don’t reply that most of this squad is out of contract at the end of the season - remember it’s quality not quantity that counts.

Old Dave

Ed’s Note [Gav]: It would be nice to see Younger, Diamond and Patterson given a proper chance. With a handful of defenders injured, maybe now is the time to give Younger a go. And with the keepers playing shite, Patterson won’t get a better chance.

I guess it depends on whether the manager has it in him.

Sunderland v Port Vale - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The one glaring problem that has been our downfall in so many matches was almost criminally followed in the Shrewsbury game.

The opposition made more progress towards having shooting chances by following up on our endless back passes than they did from attacking passes of their own.

At one point, from just outside of their box they applied pressure on our ball carrier, and chased the succession of back passes all the way back until the ball was at our goalkeeper’s feet. It is not easy to score consistently when you keep passing the ball away from the opposition’s net.

Alan Hedley

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Teams have worked out that if they let us have loads of the ball, we’re less likely to score. We have no pace, no penetration, and we struggle to break teams down, so dominating the ball isn’t always a good thing. Ideally you’d like to see us countering teams, but we’ve found that tough ever since we dropped into the third tier.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

In all my time supporting Sunderland, I have never seen a more inept bunch of players.

But why? The answer is because of the situation we find ourselves in, contract wise. These players are out of contract at the end of the season. They are now sitting on the remainder of the contract that they are on, knowing they are not going to be here next season.

This now leads to lack of desire, passion and honesty. The lack of fans not being present has allowed these players an easy ride. They are looking after themselves, not worrying about Sunderland football club. More concerned about the next contract at their next club. Just can’t see Sunderland promoted this season not with these players.

The new owner will have to start again and build again with players who are hungry and have more ability than what we have now.

John Sundo

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Hmm.... not sure that I agree with that. If you could point to specific players that you think aren’t trying their best because they are off in the summer, I might have a better understanding of what you mean.

Milton Keynes Dons v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Lee Johnson says his goalkeepers admit they could do better - I agree. They would be better employed as binmen. Only problem is they would drop all the rubbish. A one-eyed banana would be an improvement in goal!

I have supported Sunderland for over 50 years. This is the worst Sunderland team I have ever seen. And this is supposed to be an improvement on Parkinson?

Anyway, here is to another 7 seasons in League One, if we are lucky and don’t get relegated.

Philip Wright

Ed’s Note [Gav]: BRB, off to swallow a cyanide pill.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Sunderland v Liverpool Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The most worrying thing with the new manager is how on earth he can’t see that both keepers are very, very poor. We all knew this at the start of the season, yet he can not see it.

The defence is at 6s and 7s with no confidence in the keeper - he has got a young lad in at left back, who does not look good enough, and is leaking goals. Leadbitter has not got the legs to press, and needs to be in a three in the middle.

It’s not just me who can see it, so why can’t the manager see it? I know it’s easy to be critical, but I would like him to be asked questions and hear his response.

Roker Stokell

Ed’s Note [Gav]: He’s not daft marra, of course he knows they’re shite. Problem is though that they’re all he’s got, with the exception of another untried, untested youngster. I’d like to see Patterson given a go, but I have a feeling we’re more likely to see Burge come back in.