Gary Engel says…
Well, I remember vividly how Sunderland smoothly slotted through the gears during the outstanding 1998/99 season.
After a matter of weeks we were top of the league and once there, we never looked back.
It is far too early to compare our current side to Reidy’s Kings, but September is a great opportunity to see just how far this squad has come, or could go...
The last two results and performances are where we want and need to be, with Lee Johnson’s side being entertaining to boot! We need to see one or two clean sheets and after such a good start I doubt there will be too much tinkering with the team immediately. But with 3 home matches we must be looking at making the most of these coming games. It is difficult to see us take maximum points from the next four, but if we can only drop say two points it would translate into a really impressive start to the season.
Sunderland have fallen short too many times in recent years from our relegation from the Premier League, Championship and failures in League One most feel that we have fallen short later in the season. But my take on that is, we have, only as a result of too many points dropped early in the campaign. That has been Sunderland’s failing for too long - let’s see this month if that corner has been truly turned.
Malc Dugdale says...
After the great start to the season we have had - with four league wins from five in a busy August - we need to very much build on that through September.
We really must take advantage of having three home games in a month after the tough games we have successfully navigated so far, and we also must take positives from having only 4 fixtures this month too - normally it’s far more hectic.
The international break and the time between most September games should help the players build up their fitness, and help the team to gel with our new additions too.
These next four games are all very winnable for me, and the building needs to start this weekend with a convincing performance and win against another side in the early top slots, Accrington.
Of all the September matches, I would say the Accrington home and Fleetwood away games are likely to be the toughest. Accrington often play better when confident, as all sides do, and they are in the top three for a reason. Even though it is an early table, they have taken all three points from both Rotherham and Doncaster, the former away from home too. Fleetwood are just Fleetwood, and though we have beaten them of late they certainly know how to frustrate and disrupt even the best footballing sides.
With the greatest of respect, we should be blowing away all our opponents this month by playing the football we now know we can, especially on our own pitch with our own awesome fans giving us that crucial 12th man.
We should have had at least 13 points from five games in August, as we were by far the better side at Burton, but maintaining the “better than two points per game” has to be the main aim.
I’d be reasonably happy with 8 points from September, but with three home matches I’d like to see ten, maybe allowing for a dull 0-0 when Fleetwood once again park the bus.
Taking and holding the top spot from now to the end of the season isn’t going to be easy, but we have shown we aren’t great at the “chase the leader” approach, so let’s take September and see how we fair with leading the league, and staying there.
Joseph Tulip says...
There is nothing quite like a winning mentality and our young and hungry squad should be looking forward to three home matches out of four in September.
An empty SoL looked soulless at times last season as we all watched via live stream coverage, but the return of 30,000 fans this term has already made a huge difference in terms of atmosphere and the change in outlook for the players.
Lee Johnson made reference to way the fans got behind the team in the win over Wycombe, and stuck with the players during a challenging period in the second half before we got that all-important third goal.
A roaring crowd will be just the tonic when Accrington visit and despite their good start, we should fear nobody in this division and there is no reason why we can’t keep our own impressive run going this month.
It is a chance for us to finally stamp our authority on League One, but a word of caution. While we now have a squad of exciting young players, it’s still early days and the fans must continue to stick with them, even if we start slowly or concede the first goal.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Even in previous promotion campaigns, there have been occasional stumbling blocks, but it’s vital that we stick with the players, get behind them and give them the best possible environment, especially with three home matches in September, to feel settled, valued, and really get into their stride.
The players need us fans more than ever now, so let’s stick together and help the Lads build on this early lead at the top of the table.
Mark Wood says...
Naturally, you want to see us continue to set the pace in the league.
Apart from the Burton game, we have taken maximum points so far, and even though we did lose at Burton we can take consolation that we played well enough to have won comfortably on another day.
With three games at home and only one away my heart would love us to take maximum points from all of them, but my more realistic head is expecting ten points from the four games, with the trip to Fleetwood being the one where we draw.
Is it a sign that the belief in the team as fans has risen from the previous campaigns in League One, that we can talk about improving our start to the season from a position at the top of table?
Certainly, we have to recognise that with a group of newly signed young players who for the most are yet to come into the side, that there will be some hiccups along the way, and I would be very surprised if all of them are a success.
But some of them will be, and I expect this Sunderland team to improve as the season goes on.