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Sunderland AFC Announce Signing Of Alex Pritchard

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Sunderland 2021/22 predictions: Who will be our best signing, and will we retain the Pizza cup?

In the second part of our pre-season preview, our panel put their reputations at stake and talk best signings, Pizza Cups and... Steve Bruce?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Who is going to prove to be our best signing?


Philip West says...

Given that we’ve only brought three players in so far, this is a difficult one to answer. Alex Pritchard, when fully fit, will definitely give us some genuine quality, and he’s probably the most ‘marquee’ of our signings so far.

Martin Wanless says...

At the time of writing, there’s not a great deal of choice is there?! Pritchard is potentially the best bit of business – if Johnson can manage him correctly he could be the difference. However, I think Corry Evans could be the midfield linchpin we’ve been lacking for the past few seasons. . .

Malcolm Dugdale says...

If we can get Pritchard firing he could be huge for us. I still think we have a couple of interesting signings to come, but with what we have signed so far, the loan of Doyle and the signing of Pritchard look very tasty.

Tom Albrighton says...

We’d have to make some decent ones first. Pritchard looks good on paper, but football isn’t played in theory.

Harrogate v Sunderland - Pre-Season Friendly
Will Corry Evans be an impressive performer this season?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Are we going to win back-to-back Pizza Cups and get to enjoy our day out at Wembley this year?


Philip West says...

Curiously enough, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if we do go deep into the Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Deluxe Cup this season. Obviously, the league will (as ever) be the main focus, but I expect Lee Johnson to treat the cup fixtures as a chance to give more of the fringe/youth players a chance. Despite the rather unusual circumstances in which we won the tournament last season, it was a memorable day for those of us who’d never seen Sunderland win at Wembley, and the incentive of winning it for a second time, albeit with supporters in the stadium, might serve as quite a strong incentive to repeat the run from last season.

Martin Wanless says...

Pizza Cup? Completed that mate. I hope we get knocked out early on, so we can “concentrate on the league”. In reality, it’s a needless distraction. In last season’s semi, Bailey Wright got knacked and was never the same again – who knows how the season would have panned out with a fit Wright and Sanderson at the back?

Malcolm Dugdale says...

I don’t care about the pizza cup. I’d be happy we play the young uns in it all the way, but focus on the league title with our first team. Our defensive injuries last season showed that the intensity of league and cup games can really hit your squad. Protect our best to get us out of this league, and develop the youth in the cup is my view. And play who we start the comp with at Wembley if we do get there… it's the only way to be fair.

Tom Albrighton says...

Whilst it was nice to break the Wembley hoodoo, I couldn’t care less about the Pizza Trophy. Papa John can gan swivel.

Sunderland v Tranmere Rovers - Papa John’s Trophy Final
Back for another slice?
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Which away day are you most looking forward to, and which one would you be glad to see the back of if we finally get out of League One?


Philip West says...

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Sheffield Wednesday, and Hillsborough is a stadium with plenty of character, so a trip down to South Yorkshire will be something to look forward to. In terms of venues I won’t be sad to wave farewell to if we do escape this league, it’s difficult to look beyond Fleetwood’s stadium, which, with its location on the windswept Lancashire coast and somewhat primitive design, really is the embodiment of League One and its distinct lack of glamour.

Martin Wanless says...

Bolton and Sheff Wed are always great days out. Have very fond memories of the failed air guitar world record and the birth of the ‘Keano’ song during one half time at Hillsborough. One to leave behind? Got to be Accrington, hasn’t it?

Malcolm Dugdale says...

I am looking forward to Cambridge United. I’m pretty sure I went there years ago in a cup game which we nearly threw away (from memory we won 3-2 after being 3-0 up?). I’m an exile who lives down that way, so hopefully a few of us midlands RR exiles can get together for it. On the one to dread, none. We are going to tank all these tossers and win loads of away games. The 1-1 is no more, we are now the 2-0 specialists. Don’t like Pompey though, or Fleetwood, or Wycombe. Mingers the lot of them.

Tom Albrighton says...

With family dotted all over the place, I don’t mind an away day to Plymouth oddly enough. That aside, a trip to Bolton is usually a good day out unless Jack Ross is your manager and the queue for the bar isn’t 20 minutes long. Other than that, a trip to Steel City wouldn’t be the worst - Sheffields alright, even if they do speak a different language over there

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Looking forward to getting back to Wednesday
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Will Steve Bruce last the season?


Philip West says...

Not only do I expect the much-maligned Steve Bruce to survive the season, I expect him to lead Newcastle into the upper echelons of the Premier League, with Joelinton securing the golden boot with a 45-goal haul. Thereafter, a gleaming bronze statue of Bruce will be erected outside The Strawberry pub, and his doubters will finally have to admit that, despite their Saudi takeover not materialising, the ongoing Mike Ashley/Steve Bruce axis is a winning formula for their club. You heard it here first.

Martin Wanless says...

Steve ‘ three-year contract’ Bruce? He’ll be there, acting as a human shield to deflect criticism for Mike Ashley, while simultaneously keeping Greggs profits sky high. Hopefully this time next year we’ll be looking forward to a reunion. I wonder what song he’ll play?

Malcolm Dugdale says...

He won't make new year’s day 2022 unless the skunks are in the top eight, and while optimism can be pleasant, delusions of grandeur generally don’t deliver. No chance.

Tom Albrighton says...

Fingers crossed Bruce lasts the season. Whilst others wish Newcastle to tank and embarrass themselves in front of the nation, I do not. There’s a real joy in watching them struggle for 75% of the season while just picking up enough points to avoid relegation. Seeing fifty fowsand screeeeeeemin jawdees collectively lose their minds as they live in a purgatory where they merely survive but don’t do badly enough for Bruce to get the sack, all while the Saudi’s drift off into the distance, will be absolutely box office

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