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Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Bloomfield Road

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Talking Points: Does Trai Hume deserve to keep his place when Lynden Gooch returns from injury?

Following Sunderland’s draw 1-1 with Blackpool yesterday, Matty discusses Trai Hume’s recent performances, the future of Édouard Michut, and the upcoming FA Cup game at Shrewsbury!

Photo by Barrington Coombs/PA Images via Getty Images

After two consecutive solid appearances, Trai Hume deserves to keep his spot until Lynden Gooch’s wins it back!

Throughout this season so far, Trai Hume’s opportunities have featured off the bench to cover for injuries and when he was been given a chance to start, he has been taken straight back out if Lynden Gooch is available.

During the 20-year-old’s first Championship start against Burnley, he had a difficult second half and was fairly taken out, but his performance before the World Cup against Birmingham was not one that warranted a dropping and it was rather harsh to see him back on the bench.

After Gooch’s injury against Blackburn, this time around Hume was taken his opportunity brilliantly.

The Northern Ireland international has assisted in both matches, delivered excellent crosses, been an aerial threat and has also been firm in the tackle (see James McClean), which was something he was criticised for against Burnley.

Hume was awarded Man of the Match in Andy’s Player Ratings and I think he now deserves to keep the right-back position until he loses it himself, rather than being instantly taken out if Gooch can play.

Saturday’s FA Cup match will be another chance for him to get another 90 minutes under his belt and I think it is fantastic to see that it looks like the recruitment team have discovered yet another young prospect at an excellent price, who can play at this level.

Do you think Hume deserves to start regularly if he continues this form?

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Hume completed consecutive 90 minutes for only the second time since joining Sunderland.
Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Edouard Michut hasn’t worked at Sunderland so far, but I’m going to be brave and say there’s more to come!

While most of the Sunderland starting XI struggled in what was a poor first-half performance, one player who just couldn’t get into the match was Édouard Michut.

After a promising full debut against Wigan where he showed flashes of being an excellent player with his movement and passing, the PSG loanee’s lack of physicality and match fitness was exposed against Blackpool.

After picking up an early yellow card, the Frenchman became a passenger defensively and was rightly substituted for Abdoullah Ba, who once again impressed.

With the January window now open, talk has emerged on whether Sunderland will keep Michut given his fitness issues and lack of impact, so let’s look at both sides.

On one hand, Michut has failed to complete 90 minutes, has made just six appearances and also got sent off for receiving two yellow cards in seven minutes for the reserves in the Wear-Tees “Derby”.

The latter not exactly mattering to the first-team, but it’s not exactly the way to impress.

To add fuel to the fire, another key problem with Michut getting game time is that his qualities don’t solve the issues that Sunderland have in midfield.

He is small and lacks physicality, a problem with the squad overall, plus if he takes Corry Evans’ position, Sunderland lose their captain, key experience and a selfless figure who is happy to sit back and soak up pressure.

He could compete with Dan Neil, but Neil is rarely injured and also appears to be a favourite under Tony Mowbray, who has only dropped him twice this season.

On the other hand though, this is a player who was featuring in a PSG side last season with some of the world’s best players, at a club not exactly renowned for developing young players.

Also, given his match fitness issues coming in on deadline day and his struggles with injuries, Michut has never had a proper run in the Sunderland team and has played less than 200 minutes.

If you look at Amad, he started his Sunderland loan spell as a sub without really making an impact or attracting much attention, but once he was given a run of starts, look at him now, the goals and assists are flowing and he is one of Sunderland’s best players.

Of course, it is down to Michut to get fitter, regularly play and most importantly, earn those starts, but I don’t think we can properly judge him until he has had a proper run of starts.

In the last two years or so with the likes of Patrick Roberts, Alex Pritchard and Jack Clarke, Sunderland has become a club that can get the best out of players who have endured difficult periods but have high potential and Michut definitely falls into that category when you look at how his potential is viewed in France, as well as his troubles with PSG’s board last summer.

As things stand right now, I don’t think there’s a chance Speakman will be looking to activate Michut’s permanent clause next summer, but I don’t think his Sunderland story is over quite yet.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Sunderland should use the FA Cup to heal the wounded and provide opportunities for our younger players!

Sunderland's next fixture sees us travel to Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup and it honestly could have not come at a better time.

Having taken seven points from nine and being in an excellent league position, there is no real pressure on the match and the priority for Sunderland has to be to heal our injured players.

Tony Mowbray was missing eight players through injury, forcing him to name a bench full of midfielders and also lost Ellis Simms who was recalled by Everton.

With other players having issues such as Ross Stewart just coming back from a long-term injury and Corry Evans struggling, Sunderland could use the fixture to provide opportunities to those who need minutes or deserve a chance, so who might we see?

In goal, I think it is certain that Alex Bass will be handed an opportunity to get some minutes as we are always one injury away from needing him to step up.

With the club not appearing to have any young defenders seriously knocking on the door, it may be an unchanged defence, which would provide some stability, but I guess we will see later this week who may be back.

Moving into midfield, it would be fantastic to see Jewison Bennette get his first Sunderland start and I think we would all love to see more of French duo Abdoullah Ba and the above-mentioned Édouard Michut to see what they can do.

Jay Matete looks quite certain to leave in January given his position in the pecking order, but he too deserves a start for his patience and I imagine the club will want to put him in the shop window also.

Heading into the attack, Leon Dajaku is another who is in much need of game time and most importantly, some confidence - a goal for him would be fantastic to see if he can get back to some form.

With Ross Stewart being our only attacker, short term I wonder if the club may recall Jack Diamond to play, similarly to last season when he brought him back temporarily when we were short.

On the subs bench, it would be great to see more of our promising young players feature, particularly the likes of Chris Rigg and Tom Watson who were in the matchday squad who travelled to Burnley.

If you were Tony Mowbray, would you go full strength or rest some of the senior players?

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