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Fan Letters: “LJ & his Sunderland team fully deserve the plaudits” - and 4-3-3 is proving popular!

In today’s fan letters there’s praise for Lee Johnson from Michael, and reflections on the imminent Louis-Dreyfus takeover from Colin & John. What do you think? Email us:

Sunderland Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

What a fantastic positive performance on Saturday and LJ and his team fully deserve the plaudits that have come their way.

The off-field relationship between LJ and McGeady is for me akin to how Cloughy managed Keano at Notts Forest by being the good monkey on his back and its paying dividends. LJ deserves full credit for this.

But, and there always is a but with this team, we know McGeady can’t produce performances like he did last Saturday in every game, and we need additional creativity and pace in particular down the right hand side flank. That for me is the conunderum in this squad.

However after Saturdays performance my glass moved up a notch and dare I say it if we can play with the same intensity energy and passing accuracy we have nothing to fear.

More of this on Wedneday night please.

Michael Patterson

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for your letter, Michael. You’re absolutely right that McGeady can’t be expected to show the kind of form he did on Saturday in every game between now and the end of the season. I hope that both Jack Diamond and loanee Jordan Jones, once he’s fully up to match fitness, will give us exciting options and will push Geads and Gooch hard for their places in Johnson’s starting eleven for the rest of the campaign.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I think if KLD is attending matches, there must be something in the wind...

Colin Lee Anderson

Ed’s Note [Rich]: There’s more than something in the wind, Colin. This deal has been progressing, albeit slowly, for the last couple of months with Louis-Dreyfus controlling decision-making from behind the scenes, and we’re all just waiting around to see when the EFL can get the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted on the paperwork. Unless something quite unexpected comes along to derail things, it should all be finalised soon enough.

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

Dear Roker Report,

I agree, I don’t think Donald can be trusted. I initially thought that Donald was going to be good for us but when I learned he did not have the funds to back his ideas, alarm bells rang. Now heis trying to hang on because likes the idea of having a big club even though he hasn’t got big club money. Sunderland fans will think more of him if he just passes the club to young Kyril.

John in Durham

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi John, cheers for writing in. Whilst it’s absolutely true that Donald has not done much to regain the trust of the fans after the debacle of the 2019-20 season, I will give him and the Madrox Partners credit for (eventually) finding a suitably wealthy investor to take over control of the club, and for just about managing to keep us afloat in the meantime. I doubt it’s glory, sentiment or pride that has led to Donald retaining a minority shareholding in SAFC; like all capitalists, he’s banking on making a profit when the value of his stake rises along with the club.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am feeling cautiously optimistic about Sunderland at the moment. We have suffered some horrendous draws and losses in recent months, but I think that the win over Doncaster should be taken as a sign of things to come. The players have proved what they are capable of; they know that they have to live up to this expectation.

My main source of optimism is our depth in the 3-3- element of the 4-3-3 formation (which is undoubtedly the way forward with the players that we have). In this area of the park we essentially have two strong teams that can be rotated easily. Up front we have: Wyke, McGeady, Gooch, Diamond, Jones, O’Brien (and Stewart when he is available). In the middle we have: O’Nien, Scowen, Power, Leadbitter, Neil, Maguire. We have so much depth in the attacking part of our squad that we should be able to handle the frequency of games. All of these players (when paired in the right combinations, e.g. having Leadbitter and Power on the pitch at the same time would be a nightmare) are capable of scoring 3+ goals each game.

Our problems lie at the back. Injuries mean that we have to resort to poor players, and it means that these poor players have to play 90 minutes, twice a week. Saying this, we have lost the least games of anyone in the league. We don’t tend to concede many goals. The goals we do concede are pretty awful, but they are not all that frequent; this comes down to teams being perhaps unwilling to really challenge us.

I think that with our depth and attacking potential up front, we are on track to gain promotion this year. We need to swamp teams with goals before they get a chance to recover by penetrating our poor defence. I really believe we will be in the Championship next year, regardless of who owns the club.

Paul Haswell

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I love the optimism Paul! This league is really terrible so if we can go on a run of winning games, we have every chance. Like under Jack Ross, our inability to turn draws into wins has plagued us, but there’s still almost half a season left to play, and new players still need to bed in.

I’m a lot more optimistic than I was before Donny, put it that way.

Sunderland Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Great result against Doncaster, with some really good football played.

I only hope it can continue, and that Wyke and Mcgeady can repeat their performance without picking up any injuries. The formation of 4-3-3 seems to suit the team on whole, and as such produces a lot more support throughout.

Malcolm Donnison

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I have to agree, I think 4-3-3 suits us best when looking at the players we have available. Its success really depends upon what form Wyke is in. Currently he can lead the line alone, but when he’s lacked confidence in the past he’s been a waste of a shirt up there. Hopefully the big fella can keep it going, because he’s proven himself to be a real asset since Lee Johnson took the job.

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