Dear Roker Report,
Game after game I sit in front my laptop here in Trinidad while my friends are busy watching their Premier League teams and I ask myself, Does Leadbetter ever pass forward?
Time and time again his passes are backwards killing or slowing us down when we are trying to play quick attacking football. I dream this season to see a central midfield pairing of O’Nien and Embleton. Both players always want the ball and are good passers.
For all his energy, Scowen doesn't pass well and his touch is like a trampoline. Maybe a 4-2-3-1 with McGeady playing the CAM, and with O’Nien and Embleton/Winchester behind him?
Another question I want to ask, is why do we insist on tall strikers to lead the line? Didn’t Defoe prove that myth wrong by being a successful lone striker?
Nicholas from Trinidad
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I’m sure you’ll have seen the news, but Embleton has gone on loan to Blackpool - hopefully he’ll get regular football there and come back in the summer ready to be a proper first team player.
I do agree that we need options in the middle, however. I think that once Luke O’Nien is properly back, he’ll play central midfield. That should add some dynamism to a position that is sorely lacking in it. Winchester needs a chance to prove his worth.
Re: your point on strikers... Stewart’s got a bit of everything apparently. He’s very tall but also quick, so he should give us a bit of something different. Defoe played in the Premier League against a different breed of defender!
Dear Roker Report,
After watching another abject display I’m beginning to think the players have been so used to playing the Parkinson way that they cannot change, and our manager is struggling to see it.
I was going to send my tv in for repair after our manager was quoted as saying against Shrewsbury that we were outstanding.
As we struggled again to win at home, I looked at the bench and couldn’t see any subs who could change the game. Our defensive record is quite good despite having no good goalkeepers. So, we have to look at midfield and up front.
I know it may be early to judge Winchester but from what I’ve seen, he won’t change a game - he is the same as we already have, and 3 games in and he can’t make the first team. Sanderson was brought in, does well then isn’t in the first team? Scowen gets a lot of stick but he is the only midfielder who comes back to get the ball continuously and doesn’t hide.
Our wingers don’t help enough or involved enough and don’t threaten enough.
Up front, yes Wyke has scored a few but has missed too many other chances to put the game to bed. For his size, he either can’t control the ball, falls down so easily and must be one of the only strikers not to have scored from outside the box. Try to think back, when was the last time he even had a shot from outside the box?
As for O’Brien, who cost us the first goal as he didn’t move out quick enough, what’s he doing in these positions? Can somebody tell him for corners and freekicks stay on our halfway line ready for clearances! He is never going to be a prolific scorer. I’m sure the new guy will replace him... and he’s never had a shot from distance.
Hopefully some of the latest guys can up the tempo for us.
While I would love us to get promoted I think we would need at least 8 higher calibre players for the championship.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Ah come on Colin, it’s not all bad! Our bench at the weekend was as strong as it gets at this level. We had plenty of attacking options but just struggled to kill the game off - the hope is that the introduction of Vokins, Jones and Stewart give us that extra 10% we need to turn draws into wins, and score more goals. I think in the case of Vokins and Jones we’ve significantly strengthened the left hand side of the pitch, and have turned the dial up significantly due to the pace that both players possess.
Dear Master Rocker,
Watching from afar and prepared to be ripped sideways as a dumb yank, but...
I am a-feared of Allen’s prescience.
Any bidder for any EFL team would show himself a fool to pursue terms last concluded in the autumn. Back then, it seemed a pint and pie on Saturday, with a return of full stadiums imminent. But since the Holiday ides and the mischief at #10, KL-D is watching SAFC’s value erode with each passing fixture.
This is not to diminish the value of the Black Cats as an “institution” or even—really—as a club. They remain, likely, the most sound and supported side on the block. For the moment.
But as what we call here stateside, “a going concern”, problems arise. As a business, the already beaten-down AFC has only been beaten down further since the sort-of-French Connection was made. First, a drop in value as an operating business (no gate; no concessions). Second and soon, as a competitive investment: a higher tidal flood of Championship and lower league teams available at the end of the campaign, when the annual orgy of those built for promotion (and saddled with such wages) again do not make the grade. But this year’s debts are worse without game days, a battering financial orgy all its own.
Atop that, with the pandemic spinning up more uncertainty in world markets, I wonder if moods among buyers may further darken. The Spanish gave the toss to Wigan; I read that my countrymen at Cardiff may soon be selling. When other clubs hit the market, the Black Cats will still be less litter and more pick—but the pick of the litter they may no longer be. Other quality sides—with quality supporters and high-end all-seaters—may hear the administration bell begin to toll.
Perchance Mr. Robert’s fears of a failed takeover are well-anchored. Billionaires—even of the 23 year-old ilk—did not become fabulously wealthy in the company of counselors who sanction financial frivolity on ill-considered timelines. I’ve not seen the club books, and even after the cold economic winds of a desperate January have blown off the North Sea, the offer price might still be equitable. But depreciating assets bring declining interest. Unless Mr. Donald grudgingly takes pence on the pounds of the current deal, a fallout before springtime may be on the weather.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Master Rocker is a new one on me... I honestly think people just need to wait this out, as frustrating as it is. The EFL likely have several boxes to tick and until that happens, there’s not much anyone can do. Mind, I would say that regardless of any hold up, the changes around the club are still being made. We still made four signings in January, we still appointed Speakman and Johnson, we still brought in his backroom team, we still appointed Steve Davison to COO... things are still happening.