Dear Roker Report,
Like many fans, I was terrified when I saw Ellis Simms go off injured on Wednesday night.
I thought that we’d be in for a long night, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The fantastic team spirit was there for all to see, the lads rallied, and as soon as that first goal went in, I knew we had it in the bag.
Not one player had a bad game, and when we switched to a four, we looked even better and to be honest, I would like to see us play with that back four against Watford on Saturday.
This team is one of the best I’ve seen at Sunderland since I started going to games in 2007. The attacking setup is in the top three in the league, and could probably do a job in the Premier League.
I am still massively concerned, however, at how thin the squad is, especially in defence.
We have players who are versatile, but I don’t think the backup players have the quality to compete in this league, unfortunately.
It would be very interesting to see where you think we will finish at the end of the season, Personally I would still be happy with staying up by the skin of our teeth, but I think it’s time for us to be looking up rather than down.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi Jamie. Thank you for getting in touch!
The way we responded to the loss of Ellis Simms on Wednesday really does sum up the resilience of this Sunderland team. There was no panic and no dropping of heads after he left the field- just a calm and professional response to another injury setback.
I do think our attacking talent has the potential to take the game to any opponent in this league, and I’m confident that under Tony Mowbray, the players will be given license to express themselves and use all of their skill to make things happen.
On the subject of our potential league position, I think we will finish comfortably in mid-table, and possibly even higher. With some good additions in January, there is no reason that we cannot enjoy a season of stability and consolidation, before looking to progress in 2023/2024.
Dear Roker Report,
What can I say?
Tony Mowbray > the ‘English Pep’
We were superb all round against Reading. All of the the substitutions looked good and they all gained experience, too.
Also, Danny Batth looks the best bargain of recent times.
Onwards and upwards!
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Darren. Thank you for your letter!
I totally agree with you about our performance against Reading. Once we got into our stride, we were superb going forward, and things were kept nice and calm at the back as well, so it was an excellent night all round.
Your point about Danny Batth is spot on.
Since his arrival at the club, he’s become a solid, reliable presence at the back, and his experience of Championship football is really shining through. I get a sense that he’ll become a key player for Tony Mowbray as the season unfolds.
Dear Roker Report,
I generally cannot remember the last time that we controlled a game like that from start to finish.
The performance against Reading was on par with when we beat Chelsea 0-3 back in 2010.
Aji Alese is fantastic, and I am lost for words as to why he hasn’t featured more for us. Amad Diallo also looks really bright in the red and white stripes, and young Jewison Bennette is rapid and didn’t look out of place at all!
Tony Mowbray’s red and white army!
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Liam.
The performance on Wednesday night was superb, but we’ve known for a while that our players have the skill and the creativity to play like that. As the game unfolded and we grew in confidence, some of the football we played was sublime, and the third goal was a fitting way to cap it off.
Regarding Aji Alese, he was excellent against Reading, without a doubt.
He was solid, calm, and dealt with everything that came his way. Diallo and Bennette, meanwhile, certainly have potential, and I’m certain that under Tony Mowbray’s guidance, they can make a big contribution this season.