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Sunderland AFC Training Session

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Reader’s Corner: What’s in reserve?

Roker Report reader Thomas Pugh thinks some first-teamers need a break. But which under-23 players would he like to see given a chance?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

So now it’s pretty much decided that the automatics are no longer achievable, is it time for a quick change?

When the ball was struck past Lee Burge on Saturday against Blackpool, I thought right that’s it, throw a few youths on or something. Some of the players look mentally and physically exhausted from everything that has happened. We have found ourselves in such a bad place now and I think some of the players might need a brief rest.

The best time to do this would be after or if we pick up another win and automatics is looking secure.

I understand that a lot of fans will think that the players need a run of games to gather momentum and that could be the right move, I just think that some players could really benefit from a rest.

With players such as Scowen lacking an attacking threat and losing the ball every so often, surely there are other options available? I know that Leadbitter is slow but perhaps we should play only one defensive midfielder? That would open up spaces for more attacking players like Gooch and Jones playing at the same time or as mentioned before, a youth player to come in and inject some pace.

With one of our most venomous players in Chris Maguire banished from the squad, we have to look elsewhere in attacking options.

Here are a few players that could step in to give the first team a rest.


Josh Hawkes

The obvious one. He’s currently in form for the under 23s and he could actually pose a few teams problems if utilised well, as the opposition will be expecting the two giants Wyke and Stewart.

Hartlepool United v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly
Hawkes in action for Hartlepool against Sunderland during pre-season 2018
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Brandon Taylor

Defence is a tricky one. We have had our hearts ripped out with the recent injury to Dion Sanderson and we obviously don’t look as comfortable. This could be a time where Taylor steps up and could be an adequate replacement. Who knows? With the 19 out of contract players, Taylor will be looking to impress in such an injury-riddled position.

Gillingham v Sunderland: FA Cup First Round Replay
Taylor’s first team opportunities have been limited this season
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Anthony Patterson

Now, this could be a controversial one. When Lee Burge is good, he’s great. When he’s bad, he’s Lee Camp MK2. I think our recent results are down to Burge’s mentality. He looks shaky again, unfortunately. Remember when Matthews came in for a game and then Burge suddenly stepped up? Maybe this might be the answer, but the time is ticking for him to up his game.

Whatever happens in the next game, I hope to see some changes as I believe the players we currently have are mentally weak at this moment in time, unfortunately.

Sunderland Training Session
Patterson was on the bench on Tuesday – is a first team call up on the cards?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images
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