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Roker Roundtable: Has the international break come at an unfortunate time for Sunderland?

The Lads head into the international window on the back of a creditable draw against Watford, so we asked our panel whether the break is welcome, or potentially disruptive

Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

From a selfish point of view, I think it’s terrible timing.

I never like international breaks away, but after the postponement of the Millwall game, it makes things feel even more disjointed.

On a wider scale, I just hope the stop-start nature of the last few weeks and the additional travel some of the lads will be undertaking doesn’t cause any knock-on issues. However, it might be the case that some of the younger players in particular enjoy having a few days back home, so in some respects it might be a good thing.

I daresay Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus are quite happy about it as well.

They’ll be hoping that the players come back fit and raring to go, but the break allows them a chance to take a closer look at the players who have remained on Wearside. It has been a busy few weeks since they arrived, so hopefully this will be an opportunity for the staff to get their feet under the table and get a few more ideas across.

I think we’ve got a couple of potentially winnable games on the horizon and it would be good to get any minor niggles taken care of beforehand. With any luck, everybody will be up for it come the Preston North End match, but in the meantime, the days might drag!

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images

Ewan Bowman says…

It has come at a bad time.

International breaks are a nightmare, especially during the early stages of the season, and although we have several key players injured, such as Ross Stewart, Dennis Cirkin and Ellis Simms, the Lads were performing extremely well, and playing with a good rhythm.

We just have to hope the players who are away with their countries don’t pick up any injuries so we can go into the double-header against Preston & Blackpool with the team ready to continue the momentum.

I am looking forward to seeing the likes of Jewison Bennette, Abdoullah Ba, Amad Diallo and Edouard Michut after the break, and these next run of games are crucial in the lead up to the World Cup.

If we can carry on our good run of form, the sky is the limit. We are watching the team play without fear and taking the league by storm. Roll on a week on Saturday!

Watford v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Vicarage Road Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Phil West says…

I think it’s something of a double-edged sword for the players, despite the fact that for us as fans, international breaks always leave a gaping void that the weekly fix of club football would ordinarily fill.

We were starting to build some real momentum with the excellent victory over Reading which was followed by a gutsy draw against Watford, and the fact that we won’t be back in action for another week is frustrating. Team spirit is clearly very strong, and the players would doubtless be keen to continue their encouraging form. If we had been back on home turf this weekend, there would’ve been a real buzz in the air, but that will have to wait until next Saturday.

On the other hand, Tony Mowbray ought to be able to use this time to continue to instil his style of play into the squad, as well as working on alternative systems and tactical plans, should they be needed.

Adaptability seems to be one of the buzzwords that Mowbray puts a high value on and I am sure that he and his staff will be working very hard on the training ground to keep things ticking over and to strengthen the bonds between the players. In addition, this break should give our new recruits some valuable time to continue to settle into the club, which is crucial.

As an England fan, I always want to see the national side do well, but with the World Cup on the horizon, I’m far more excited about the league season recommencing, and seeing whether we can continue to make inroads in the upper reaches of the league table!

Watford v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Vicarage Road Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says…

Sod all the negativity: I’m happy!

We get more time for Ross Stewart, Ellis Simms and Dennis Cirkin to recover; we get time for Tony Mowbray to do more in terms of tactics, strategy and how we can get the most out of our squad as we consider how to take on Preston, Blackpool and Wigan at home, as well as Swansea away.

I get the romantic idea that we want to cut butter with a warm knife, but we have to remember the more we play this way, the more chance opponents have to prepare for our new style, with a ‘false nine’ and very little physicality up front.

Let’s stop being emotionally overcome. If we get time to refine things, we should take it and hope it makes us even stronger, which is saying something.

Our response to recent events has been great. It isn’t a long-term solution, but we have accidentally developed a great option, and let’s make sure we use it when we have to.

Watford v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Vicarage Road Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images


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