Joseph Tulip says...
I’m sure it won’t be an easy Christmas for Elliot Embleton, so I’d offer him a pick-me-up gift.
This would be in the form of a video featuring the highlights of his time in a Sunderland shirt, including his goal at Wembley and other big-game moments.
It would end with a message from Tony Mowbray, assuring him that regardless of how long he needs to recover, he remains a vital part of his plans and also of the club’s future.
Embleton’s certainly had his critics during his career.
He’s not always in the starting eleven and he often lacks consistency, but he’s got bags of ability and on his day, he can influence any Championship game.
Let’s appreciate what we’ve got this Christmas and as we wish Embo a speedy recovery, we look forward to seeing him back in a red and white shirt as soon as possible.
Malc Dugdale says...
To begin with, I’d give Danny Batth the gift of full fitness.
Once Batth and Dan Ballard are fit, my hope is that the worries about being vulnerable at set pieces and against high balls will disappear.
With the duo supported by the very capable Aji Alese, Luke O’Nien and Dennis Cirkin, we should really step up our defensive standards.
In terms of physical gifts, I’d slice our ‘player of the season’ trophy in half and give it to Batth, because he’s been our standout performer during the first twenty three games.
The final suggestion I would make is for the whole team to be given a huge ‘well done’ for how well-positioned we are, seven months after that lovely day in May.
Our position at the midway point of the season is marvellous and the fact that many fans want more is actually a testament to how far we’ve come. With a little bit more in the way of good fortune, we could well be in the playoff spots.
Despite the fact that we’ve had some distractions, such as Alex Neil walking out and several key players being injured for significant periods of time, this is a game where the results are all that matters, and the Lads have done incredibly well.
We’re in a better place than both Rotherham and Wigan, who came up ahead of us, and the future looks very bright if we can improve our results,
The way we are playing is great to see when it comes together, which is also a real gift to us all.
Keep playing as you do when you’re at your best, boys. Try to improve our home form for the rest of the season and I’ll take that under my tree!
Building for a bright future is going very well so far. Well done to all at the club and let’s keep it up.
Kevin Campbell says...
For me, there are a few gifts from Father Christmas in the bag this year, and they’re all deserved.
First and foremost, a day off for the club’s medical staff, because the treatment table hasn’t gotten a break all year.
In my opinion, that’s actually one of the most encouraging facts at the halfway point of the season. We’ve had plenty of key players out for significant periods and we still find ourselves sitting three points off the playoffs. Imagine what a fully fit squad will do!
The second thing I’ll pull out from under the red and white tree is a run of form for Leon Dajaku, Bailey Wright, Niall Huggins, Edouard Michut and Alex Bass.
Dajaku is a prime example of the fact that analytics don’t work every time. He’s got all the skill and ability, but he just hasn’t put it together on the pitch, so a little bit of Christmas magic would do him good.
Wright simply isn’t a top-half Championship defender. We owe him a lot for his service to the club during the last few years and to see him on the pitch with that little bit of improved quality would make for a ‘g’day’.
Huggins is almost back and a run of form would be the cherry on top. Michut’s gift will give him whatever it is he’s lacking in training that’s keeping him off Tony Mowbray’s team sheet, and Bass is second in line behind the team’s best player!
Speaking of Anthony Patterson, his present is a summer holiday to anywhere in the world for the entirety of next summer. He’s turned into a proper number one and he’ll deserve the break.
For Lynden Gooch? A pair of socks in a care package from his fellow countryman.
Two more presents, for our current and former head coach, were also left under the tree for this year. Mowbray gets a bagful of sweet treats for coming in and steadying the ship, and there’s a nice bag of coal for Alex Neil, that fell out of the bin in Santa’s sleigh.
Sunderland are back, and happy holidays!