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Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: What positives & negatives can we pluck from Sunderland’s draw at Blackpool?

After a gritty game on the Lancashire coast, Sunderland emerged with a point, taking their total to seven from the last nine. What did our writers make of the game?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav says…

Amad shows quality... again

Other than Trai Hume, Amad was probably the only Sunderland player who had a solid ninety minutes and showed quality throughout.

My big worry in his early days at Sunderland was whether he’d get a run of games to show what he can do. Since coming into the side he’s become undroppable and as a result he’s gone from strength to strength, and is showing his true quality having been given the minutes on the pitch and the responsibility that is required to get the best from him.

What a player. We’ll be talking about him in years to come as one of the most gifted footballers we’ve had at the club - he’s a true joy to watch.

Right place, right time for Rossco!

Good strikers always seem to be in the right place at the right time, and when Trai Hume headed the ball into the box it was inevitable that Ross Stewart would be poised ready to divert the ball toward goal.

Even his miss late in the game - he was in the right place, he just couldn’t get it on target!

Timely reminder for Michut

Edouard Michut was fantastic on Thursday, but not so great at Bloomfield Road - a timely reminder not to expect too much from the lad too soon.

He’s very talented, but we have to try and be patient with him so that he can learn from mistakes and develop some consistency in his game.

We are stretched

With a tonne out injured and most of the starting eleven playing having suffered from a nasty viral infection over the last few days, it’s quite remarkable that I’m sat slightly deflated because we didn’t win. Our bench on Thursday looked strong but at Blackpool it was a lot more stretched - perhaps underlined by the fact we had a 15 year old on the bench.

There’s not much we can do about that really, and it’s a good thing that the next game is in the cup, so we can get some lads rested up and give minutes to players who need them.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

A dogged and determined performance

After reports that a number of Sunderland’s players were unwell prior to kick off, the levels of desire and endeavour never wavered, and it was strangely delightful to see the Lads really dig in and give their all.

On another day, such effort would’ve been rewarded with three points, had it not been for Blackpool’s crossbar being blessed!

Huuuuuume!

What a week for Trai Hume.

For a player who’s been lacking minutes, he must surely now be closing in on being first choice at right-back. After a stellar performance at Wigan, he continued where he left off, being one of the few players to emerge from the first half with more credit than he began the game with.

Strong, quick and a good reader of the game, Hume’s defensive work has been as solid as a rock, and on the ball he’s been progressive and energetic

With a marked improvement from his limited showings in League One, Hume is staking a claim to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

A missed opportunity?

Blackpool’s crossbar did as much to deliver a point to the Seasiders as anyone or anything.

Despite a grubby first half, we were comfortably the best team in the second. Blackpool did defend doggedly but Sunderland must surely be left to rue too many wasted chances to deservedly walk away from the festive period with maximum points.

No more!

For me, there’s only one real negative from yesterday’s performance, thanks to our sluggish start.

Given the football we’ve played recently and the injuries we’ve been dealing with, I don’t think you can complain about our return over the festive period.

Concerns may linger about how thin the squad is in certain areas, as well as being able to replace Ellis Simms and tie down Ross Stewart, but these are issues for the coming days and weeks.

For now, let’s just enjoy what’s been a very good week for Sunderland AFC.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Phil West says...

Battling qualities

Even though we were left slightly frustrated at the end of the game, having had some good chances to win it during the second half, Sunderland’s fighting spirit shone through yesterday.

We weren’t at it during the first half as Blackpool hustled and harried us, and the goal we conceded was quite slack.

However, during the second half, we dug in, got to grips with the home side- due in no small part to the excellent Abdoullah Ba and the relentless Luke O’Nien- and grabbed a deserved equaliser.

Post-match, Tony Mowbray revealed that illness had hindered many of the players, so to grind out a draw in such circumstances was testament to the fighting spirit of this group.

A positive end to the festive schedule

Seven points from nine during the Christmas and New Year period is a very solid return, and it’s put us into a really encouraging position ahead of the next league game.

We’ve kept ourselves firmly in the top six picture, and although Sunday’s draw might’ve felt like an anti-climax, not least after a very good second half against Blackpool, the fact that we’re looking at a return of ‘only’ seven points from our last three matches is testament to how far we’ve come and how expectations have been raised.

Frustration for Jack Clarke

I’m a huge fan of Clarke and when he’s on his game, he’s as potent an attacking weapon as you could hope for, but Sunday was a tale of frustration for the former Leeds attacker.

He upped his game in the second half but there were often occasions where he was overplaying it and making life difficult for himself in the process.

I’ve always felt that Clarke is at his best when he plays in a more languid, freewheeling style, but I’ve also got no doubts that he’ll recapture his best form, and the upcoming break from league action should benefit him and he can reset ahead of Swansea.

The absence of Danny Batth

Bailey Wright has been a fine servant for this club and he continues to give his all when called upon, but he did not enjoy a comfortable afternoon against the Seasiders.

He was caught on his heels for Blackpool’s goal and generally looked uncomfortable for the majority of the game.

When Batth is fit again, Wright will find himself on the bench, from where he can certainly have a positive impact during the latter stages of games where his experience will be vital, but the ex-Stoke defender’s composure and aggression are attributes that we certainly need.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

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