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Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Fan Letters: ‘I believe we have a strong enough squad to win the play-offs!’

The win over Plymouth seems to have boosted spirits! Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I believe we have a strong enough squad to win the play-offs!

If manager Lee Johnson had said in December when he first arrived that he was going to get us into the play-offs and also win us our first trophy at Wembley in 48 years, I would have taken his arm off. So, to all those calling for Lee Johnson’s head the other week, after our mini-run of bad results: give your head a shake!

Lee Johnson has only been at the club five months, and he has worked wonders with a squad of players that were going nowhere fast. If we all remember, we were mid-table, and had a style of negative football, like something out of Dickens days.

Parkinson’s style of football was enough to make you give up the game for good!

Lee Johnson came in, and completely changed our style of football, to that of a high-pressing style of football. He literally changed the mindset of the players, that had been hypnotised by Parkinson’s negative style of football.

When you think of the horrific injury list of our centre-halves (six at the last count), he deserves a medal just for getting us this far.

I believe we can win the play-offs! We have a strong enough squad for this three-game tournament. If we can get a couple of centre-halves back for them, we might just pull it off, and win promotion. Lee Johnson will have them fired up, and the players will have rested a bit and will be champing at the bit.

Go on and win it, lads!

Clive Lee

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Completely agree with you Clive. It’s sometimes easy to fall into the trap of looking at the short-term and reacting to a result or two, but the reality is Johnson has done very well with the team so far. I’m hopeful, too, that the enforced changes made in the Plymouth game will have given him some food for thought – Diamond, Gooch, Maguire and Stewart seized their opprortunity and he’s now got some strong forward alternatives. As difficult as it is sometimes, it’s important – in my opinion – that we’re all focused on backing the team to the ultimate goal, not trying to find holes and throwing toys out of the pram should a game or two go against us. We’re all in this togetther. I’m with you – we absolutely can win the play offs. but you know what, even if we don’t succeed, we’re in such a strong position off the field that I’m confident we’d go up automatically next year.

Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Let’s do this!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Lee Johnson’s comments on Ross Stewart were really interesting, about how he feels he’s best as the lone man up top. I’m always wondering about what the meaning behind his words are... is he telling us we’ll be alright without Wyke? Is this Stewart’s place to keep?

Seems mental given we have a 30-goal striker that we’d consider not playing him, but if he’s not fit, I think the Ross Ness Monster should start on Sunday and be allowed to fight for a spot in that very first play-off game!

What say you?

Graeme Newham

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Stewart is Johnson’s signing, so it’s not surprising to hear him talk him up. I think he looks a good player, and some of the criticism he’s taken from people who by definition are supporters is absolutely baffling. This weekend’s game will be interesting – I think he’ll give Wyke and McGeady more rest, and another good performance from Stewart could well see him keep his place for the semi. I touched upon it in a roundtable we did earlier in the week, but Wyke’s strengths also limit us as a team, and it is reassuring to see we do actually have something different to try up front.

Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Could Stewart be our secret weapon?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Can you recommend to me some of your best interviews with former players?

Chris Wheatley (in New Zealand)

Ed’s Note [Martin]: There’s a mountain of them Chris – all still there on your podcast app of choice! I guess it depends what era you’re from, but some of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most are Rich’s chat with John Byrne, and the interviews Chris did with Denis Smith, John Fickling (yes, I know they’re not players!), Phil Gray and Paul Bracewell. Gav’s interviews with Toby Hysen and Ross Wallace were superb to learn more about Keane’s time at the club, while Craig’s discussions with Chris Coleman and George Honeyman were a brilliant insight into more recent things, too. Let us know if there’s anyone in particular you’d like to hear from and we’ll do our best to track them down!


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