Gary Engel says...
Is this a realisation of what Sunderland are missing? If you are successful at the top of a table or successful in a relegation scrap, the first thing a manager has to concentrate on is keeping clean sheets. I was at the match on Saturday, and while Accrington had offered little in attack all match and were reduced to 10 men late on, one-nil felt far from comfortable - so it proved.
In Callum Doyle, we have a classy central defender who can move the ball or sprint forwards with the ball effortlessly, but for a central defensive partner, we require his opposite. Someone experienced to do all the nasty things well, dominating aerial battles and just remaining calm in the final few moments in matches.
Danny Batth sounds just the kind of defender to fit the bill. From all the temptation to follow the crowd of ‘forward thinking’ clubs and managers determined to play a modern way, playing out from the back, sometimes the old, tried and tested methods are the best. We look pretty good going forward, at times... but we need a firm foundation, for that we require players with more grit and character than fancy footwork.
Andrew Smithson says...
I must admit that I don’t think I’ve ever seen Danny Batth play, but having done some reading up on him this afternoon it is clear what he can bring to Sunderland. Although our defensive record isn't too bad overall the goals we seem to concede are often very soft and we regularly struggle against more physical sides.
Having a big commanding presence at the back should help combat those issues, and with Batth having won promotion from this division before he’ll know exactly what is expected of him. Not only that, but he has been playing at a higher level this season so if he does come and go straight into the side he should be match fit.
I’ve seen that he is perhaps not as good in possession as some others but I don’t think that would be an issue; we have other players in the team that can carry the ball so this move would be about bringing other strengths and getting some more character in the team so that the mix is there.
It is right that the management is trying, in general, to bring young players with the potential to grow to the club, but they recognise also that there needs to be some balance to that if we are to ensure progress now. Experienced heads like Batth can make all the difference, and having read that he is heavily involved in charity work and community causes it seems he is a decent fella. If he is as down to earth as it seems and is the type of no-nonsense defender we need, Batth could prove to be perfect for what we need right now.
Malc Dugdale says...
I don’t know a lot about this lad but looking at the level he has played at for most of his career, he feels like a good addition to the squad.
Reading his first words on the club site, he recognises this is a big club with big ambitions not yet realised, and he seems ready to take on the responsibility to aid that which is encouraging.
Given the data-focused recruitment approach, we have used in the past couple of windows, to also see that Lee has tried to sign him a couple of times and has finally succeeded, that doffs a respectable cap to our recruitment team and our persistence, identifying targets and pursuing them till we get it done. Let’s hope he was worth the wait.
I like many have aired my feelings about our need for a no-nonsense physical centre back, who can handle the likes of Akinfenwa for the last 10 minutes of a tight game. Having Batth around to rotate Flanagan out is hopefully going to really improve some of these errors we have seen of late, especially those which were made possible through physical inferiority.
This signing gives us the option to play Bailey at right-back too, or to go with a solid centre back pairing in a back 4 if that shape will help. Most of all, it brings some decent experience alongside young lads like Doyle, people with more championship experience than our Tom, who has done his best but been found out on occasions.
Sitting a unit like Batth behind Neil and Evans and alongside the mobility of Doyle will also aid some of the aspects which have been missing from our league one top trumps stats. We needed a stronger spine in the team and this is a decent vertebra to add for sure.
Signing a unit of a centre back is only one of the challenges we have though, so this needs to be the start of several scarf pics to make a real difference. Adding these players before a key game like Pompey will hopefully give us a lift too.
Get a striker and a solid no-nonsense midfielder, and maybe we will kick on as we now need to after dropping points of late.
A good signing on paper, let’s hope he turns out to be a great deal on the field too.
Joseph Tulip says...
There are times in football when you need to shut up shop, and the arrival of Daniel Batth would hopefully do just that for Sunderland.
At 31, he’s an experienced player who has operated at a higher level than where we currently find ourselves, including very recent Championship appearances for Stoke.
We desperately need aerial dominance and physical process at the back, with Tom Flanagan clearly struggling in recent games.
I’ve often thought lately of what Peter Reid did back in 1998 when he had a team made up of several promising young players who played exciting football but needed a bit of steel at the back.
Reid went out and signed Paul Butler, a no-nonsense centre half who made a huge difference as we made the step up from playoff hopefuls to title winners.
It’s a different era and we’re in a different division, but the circumstances are similar and if Bathh is the 2022 equivalent of Butler, he’ll make a big impression. Hopefully, he will be a good mentor for Callum Doyle, while his presence will enable Bailey Wright to continue at right back.