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Dundee United v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly

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Fan Letters: Is Alex Neil trying to prove a point in pre-season?

Plenty of comments on the need to strengthen the squad and a shout out regarding the form of Luke O’Nien in this week’s RR mailbag! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Having just watched the Sunderland game tonight I can only assume that Alex Neil was trying to prove to KLD that his squad has no strength in depth and that strong replacements are required as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, in order to proof his point, he had to humiliate a large number of his squad by throwing them into the furnace of the hottest day in British history for the whole of the match, using only one substitute.

Surely even he could see that after the first hour the players were running on empty and replacements were sorely needed on the pitch.

I realise that this was only a pre-season friendly and time playing in a competitive game can be beneficial towards match fitness, but in this case, I believe it was more detrimental than helpful.

How the score line was as low as it was is a mystery, the opposition made numerous changes and by doing so overran our exhausted team, although in truth the lads were poor from start to finish and none of the team took much credit from the game.

As a final note I must point out that those loyal supporters who travelled down to the match in large numbers and in such conditions deserve far better from the manager than they got, no matter that it was only a pre-season friendly. Every Sunderland team should be sent out onto the field with the intention of winning over the course of the game, be it a friendly or not.

I honestly believe that today’s match did more harm than good to those players who had to endure the whole period of the game and for that there is only one person to blame, Alex Neil.


Chas Shergold

Ed’s Note [Chris]: I don’t think anyone can deny that it was a poor showing but I’d rather we did this now and Alex Neil found out more about those players currently on the fringes of the first team.

I also think that, although nobody will be happy about it, the fans who travel to pre-season friendlies accept that it isn’t likely to be our strongest XI out on the pitch. I’ve been there myself and it’s nice to see new players and how the manager looks to setup, but at the same time, certainly in the case of myself, I didn’t travel with a priority to see a Sunderland win.

It’s just over a week to go and I’m sure we’ll see more faces, the last deal came out of the blue and I’d guess we might have a few more deals ongoing in the background.

Dundee United v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Alex Neil
Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

We need a keeper and two full backs and of course forwards, then who knows we could be celebrating again.

I think Broadhead will sign, was not even on the bench on there last tour match for Everton. We cannot keep putting Gooch and Winchester in at full backs they will be found out in the championship without a doubt. The keeper situation we definitely need cover and sharpish.

Hopefully the next week or so we see more new faces in the squad. Roll on Coventry and three points can’t wait and a great season ahead.

Mark Wild

Ed’s Note [Chris]: There’s no denying we need to bulk up in numbers in a few areas and as he has proved, Alex Neil is no mug and will be telling the powers that be where he needs new recruits.

Dear Roker Report,

One player who many feel needs to prove himself again to get a spot in next season’s squad is Luke O’Nien, so it has been nice to see he’s been a standout performer in pre-season.

Even in his 5th season as a Sunderland player he is still hungry.

Tom in Sherburn Village

Ed’s Note [Chris]: I think the way he finished at Wembley has carried on into pre-season, even if Jose Mourinho wasn’t a fan it’s been good to see. He has been moved around a bit so it will be interesting to see how Alex Neil uses O’Nien this season.

Sunderland v AS Roma: Pre-Season Friendly
Luke O’Nien
Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images


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