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Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final

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Fan Letters: ‘Sunderland need an experienced Championship keeper’ says RR reader Dan

Anthony Patterson did well towards the end of last season, but is he ready for a full season as a Championship number one? Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Interesting piece on the site today about which players must work hardest to make an impact for Alex Neil in pre-season. Agree with Dan Neil and I just hope he was being held back last season with this season in mind... I don’t think anyone thought he’d drop away like he has but we all saw Championship and PL potential there. Diamond I also agree with although he has more to prove... I’d certainly prefer him in the squad to Gooch. Big direct lad with an attacking brain, you need players like that.

The curveball I’d throw in is Patterson... I feel we need an experienced Championship keeper to ride through the first year back.


Dan Jones

Ed’s Note [Martin]: As Alex Neil pointed out in his first post-game interview, we had a lot of youngsters who’d played too much football, and Dan Neil was one of them. He needed a rest, and during his spell out Evans and O’Nien had formed a good partnership in midfield. Think that was circumstance more than anything else. Re Patterson, I agree – I actually made this point on the most recent podcast. I don’t believe we can go into the season with him as our nailed on first choice - he had a good run towards the end of the season but was very well protected. We need an experienced first choice keeper I reckon.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final
Will Patterson be first choice next season?
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

As an ex-pat living in South Africa I have not watched the Lads too much recently other than highlight packages. I note you believe that a fair few of our youngsters could make the grade at Championship level. Can you enlarge on that thinking, maybe by ranking them?

Kind regards,

Andrew Errington

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email Andrew. There are a number of contributors here who all have different opinions, so I’m only speaking for myself here... but I do think Dan Neil and Dennis Cirkin are two of the younger players who’ll comfortably step up to the Championship, and Jay Matete has a lot about him, too.

I have reservations about Patterson, as I mentioned above, but I certainly think Neil, Cirkin and Matete are three who’ll make the grade. You can just tell they’re good players – their touch, awareness etc. Still a bit raw, but huge potential. I also like the look of Niall Huggins a lot, but we’ve barely seen him so there’s question marks there.

Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra - Sky Bet League One
Dan Neil found game time hard to come by in the latter stages of the season
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

As the owner is a billionaire, why is he getting loan players instead of buying players?

Leonard Gateshill

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Not sure who you’re referring to Leonard as we’ve not made any signings as yet. Loan signings have their place and aren’t a case of not being able to afford the player in question. We were able to sign Callum Doyle and Nathan Broadhead on loan last season, but they wouldn’t have been allowed by their clubs to come to us permanently.

We’ve brought a lot of good players in permanently over the past 18 months, too – Stewart, Cirkin, Pritchard etc. No doubt we’ll see some more loan players arrive this summer – and I expect them all to be good players who we wouldn’t be able to sign permanently at this stage.


Talking Tactics: Analysing Sunderland’s gameplan in the draw with Preston


An optimistic and encouraging afternoon for Sunderland ends in a satisfactory stalemate


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