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2 Up, 2 Down: Reviewing the positives and negatives as Sunderland end a good week in style!

The result suggests it was a comfortable afternoon as we discuss the good as well as any bad points we can pick out from Sunderland’s convincing win at Burton Albion!

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

Kelvin Beattie says...

Two Up!

Case for the defence...

A reorganised defence with a three or a five at the back pending your view. Any one of the three central defenders could have a case for man of the match, without necessarily being stretched.

I particularly enjoyed Luke O’Nien bringing the ball out of defence and if he is going to play there regularly I hope he will be given licence to develop this side of his game.

The management...

Credit to Lee Johnson for managing the injury dilemma in centre of defence with a change in formation and for sensible use of the substitutions, to give McGeady, Leadbitter and Wyke a break, with games coming thick and fast.

It’s heartening to see real pace and potential game changers coming on from the bench.

Burton Albion v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Luke O’Nien
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Two Down!


The number of bookings was a disappointment and may rebound on us further down the road. I thought O’Nien’s booking was harsh and the ref followed this up by ignoring two cards for opposition players committing worse fouls in quick succession.

Should we expect more...?

I am probably guilty of wanting my cake and eating it, but I was actually disappointed we did not score more goals.

Whilst it was great that players other than Wyke are scoring I thought O’Brien, Jones and Vokins might have done a bit better with the opportunities that presented.

Vokins generally had a better game, but was up against Burton Albion’s impressive Jonny Smith, who is on-loan from Bristol City and was probably their most dangerous player.

Job done and back in the play off positions, with no obvious injuries and good form generally maintained.

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

Malcolm Dugdale says...

Two Up!


Three different scorers this Saturday which was really needed. Gooch was my man of the match, and the USA international getting on the scoresheet with Grant Leadbitter is a welcome sight - as we cannot rely on Charlie every time.

That man again...

We can clearly rely on Charlie most of the time!

He scored a sublime drive into the goalies right hand bottom corner after a great assist from Jones who shone too, to remind us before this resurgence he didn’t really score that many headers.

Sorry Will, I know you’re still a Sunderland player but if you look up “on fire” in a Thesaurus, it’s big Charlie right there right now. Take a bow Bonny Prince Charlie, and keep doing what you’re doing. You’re taking us up as top goal scorer this summer.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy
Charlie Wyke
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Two Down!

Wary of the opposition...

We won’t always play teams as poor as Burton (though they’ve done well of late) and we need to keep winning. We may have to sacrifice some of our attacking intent forward for a few weeks to ensure we keep winning.

The sooner we get some of the central defenders back from the treatment room the better, but it has to be said the back three today were immense.


I would honestly give a kings ransom to get in the stadium and support this team, but I can’t. For all the times the lads have been heckled and hassled for their lack of passion they are now working as a professional unit and are really playing with passion for the shirt.

I live 200 miles away but would be there every week right now given the chance to support this resurgence. They deserve it and we wish we could give it to them. Gutted.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Reece Davies says...

Two Up!


We’re celebrating every goal as a team. Success comes from solid partnerships and a team that is more than the XI on the pitch.

Every player seems like they are fighting for every inch on the pitch and that is what is going to make the difference between now and the end of the season. It eventually feels like every player has belief in themselves and those around them which is what has been lacking for the majority of the season so far.

Winning breeds confidence and we’re slowly making ground on teams ahead of us, long may it continue.

Squad rotation...

The squad and how Lee Johnson is managing to get the most out of it is becoming a big positive in recent weeks.

The obvious issues at the back is a huge problem and those who are plugging the gaps deserve credit for stepping up. Sanderson was outstanding today in my opinion and those around him done alright too.

Our front six can take many forms and like I said a couple of weeks ago, on paper our bench walks in to any squad in this league. That means quality throughout and more importantly we now have a massive goal threat.

Last year we had goals from Gooch and Maguire for the most part but no striker, for the moment Chaz has rectified that and we have goals from most of our midfielders. Johnson deserves credit for how he has turned things round on that front.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy
Charlie Wyke
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Two Down!

Calm heads prevail...

With our injury crisis, the last thing we need is to drop to the opposition’s level and lose players through bookings/red cards. We have to be savvy enough to manage the games and not get drawn in to handbags, especially when we’re on top in games. It could easily have been one of our lads walking down the tunnel.


Struggling for a second down to be totally honest, on the back of what has been a positive week for all that are associated with SAFC and there weren’t many things wrong with that performance today. It’s fantastic to be feeling so positive for a change, long may it continue. Promotion is on the horizon, look, it’s over there!!!

Burton Albion v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Players scuffle during Sunderland’s convincing win at Burton Albion
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gary Engel says...

Two Up!

Despite a reshuffle...

A win and clean sheet in the circumstances was the perfect match following Wednesday’s semi-final win as well as our growing defensive injury list. Given the reshuffle needed at the back we saw off Burton professionally and put us back in the play-offs places.

Goals, goals, goals...

Two well-taken first-half goals, showed clear signs of how Lee Johnson training ground drills can play dividends. Our own Paul Scholes - as Keane once dubbed him - Leadbitter lurking at the edge of the box rolled back the years.

The first two goals took some pressure off and Burton’s red card allowed changes to rest some weary legs as Wyke also added to his impressive tally.

Burton Albion v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Grant Leadbitter
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Two Down!

Bigger tests ahead...

The knowledge that Bailey Wright will be out for 2-3 weeks. Its one thing playing bottom of the table Burton, it’s something else facing Fleetwood on Tuesday or other massive fixtures coming up before our trip to Wembley.

It will certainly test our metal and Johnson’s tactical prowess in the next couple of weeks.

It would be great to see it in person...

There has been some talk about the current feelgood factor around the players and staff, its just a shame the fans can’t travel home or away to enjoy it or provide the 12th man when needed.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy
Bailey Wright
Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

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