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Fan Letters: “I think I know a thing or two,” says Sunderland fan Kenny

International call-ups, prediction follow-ups, and potential hiccups are the subjects of today’s mixed bag of fan letters. Got something to share? Email: rokerreport@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Some questions on the back of the international call-ups need answering I think... what was the point in Ross Stewart joining the Scotland camp if they weren’t going to even put him in the squad for a friendly? How come Trai Hume, a L1 back up full back, can get a cap for his country but can’t get in ahead of Lynden Gooch at Sunderland???

Tom in Sherburn Village

Ed’s Note [Rich]: It’s the vagaries of international selection, Tom - one of the great unknowables in the beautiful game. My best guess is, in both cases, the respective national team head coaches wanted to give a talented young player a new experience, be that merely being around the camp and training with the squad or stepping onto the pitch for a few minutes. I think it’s a good thing all round, and at least they didn’t come back injured!

Northern Ireland v Hungary - International Friendly
Trai Hume of Northern Ireland prepares to come on as a substitute during the international friendly match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast.
Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

If I remember rightly, back in November 2021 I wrote an article to the effect that I couldn’t see Sunderland making the top six never mind top two, and that the owners are just there for the money - you said that everything looks promising and that things are looking up.

Well, after 62 years following Sunderland I think I know a thing or two, and I stick by everything I said - until we get an owner like Steve Gibson at the Boro, nothing will ever change. Same old, same old, same old. I rest my case.

Kenny

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for writing in again, Kenny. Club owners like Steve Gibson don’t come around all that often, he’s a rare breed indeed (although he’s not perfect, just ask Middlesbrough Women about how little support they get from the Riverside club!).

I think it was Martin who responded to you back in November of last year - and I’ll back my fellow editor up in much of what he said. We have brought in good players. Johnson did have them playing good football. You predicted that Sunderland wouldn’t go up with LJ in charge and you were absolutely right.

You also suggested we ask Bristol City fans about their former boss, and to be fair they did warn us in many respects. But having seen and heard what Hamilton, Norwich and Preston fans think of our new boss, I believe that Alex Neil will get the men’s team promoted this season. This is because of the high quality of footballers he has at his disposal and his experience of winning playoffs in the past. But hey, I’m a terrible optimist.

Middlesbrough v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Never thought I’d miss the lads as much as I have the last few weeks. It’s crap not having any football to chat about isn’t it?

Listened to Alex Neil’s interview today and it sounds like some good rest and then some hard work has been going on behind the scenes to prepare for this Gillingham game.

4pts from their last two games shows that despite struggling they’re no mugs, so not taking them lightly (Especially given they have played and won, so may be fresher) but if we are going to finish in the playoffs it’s my view we have to win almost every game...

Brian Graham

Ed’s Note [Rich]: It all depends on what you like to watch to be honest, Brian. There’s been plenty of good footy on - I’ve hardly had a day without it, to be honest.

From Gareth Bale’s heroics for Wales against Austria to Barca Femeni hammering Real Madrid at the Camp Neu last night, it’s been wall-to-wall football for me. Sunday afternoon’s game at Eppleton was really entertaining and gave me, my dad, and my Lasses-supporting mates a lot to talk about.

But anyway, yes, it’s back fretting about League 1 opposition for many this weekend and, having spoken to a Gillingham fan for the Roker Rapport preview pod, it certainly seems that they’ve turned a corner under their new boss Neil Harris who has sorted out their defence. It’s going to be a big test for the Lads this weekend.

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