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Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: Assessing Sunderland’s festive results - are you happy with how we’ve done?

The Lads picked up seven points from a possible nine over Christmas and New Year, so how pleased have our writers been with the past three games?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

I’m very happy with both the effort and the points return from the last three fixtures.

Before Christmas, we discussed how many points we would’ve been happy with. My view was that we’d do well to take seven from nine, and that was the outcome.

I did think we’d struggle more against Blackburn than Blackpool, but to win in front of 44,000 fans at home on Boxing Day was a major bonus for the fans and the players.

The trip to Wigan went as I predicted it would, and although I didn’t see the Blackpool game, I hear that we should and would’ve won, if not for the woodwork and a poor first half performance.

Whether the draw was potentially due to players feeling under the weather or a lack of players due to injury, as well as Ellis Simms returning to Everton, we came from behind and created chances to win it.

As was the case in recent seasons, two points per game is a great average and although we haven’t maintained that across the twenty six games to date, we did so over three challenging games, two of which were away from home.

When we get some attacking reinforcements during this window, we’ll have even more options and who knows where we may end up come Easter and beyond?

2023 could be a surprisingly strong year for the club, especially if we keep doing what we’ve been doing for the first half of the campaign.

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says...

I’ve been really pleased with the last three results.

We’ve had a lot of things going against us recently, but the team continues to play some very attractive football in a division where few teams are able to string together a run of results.

Coming from behind to win against Blackburn took some effort and beating Wigan so convincingly, given how far they finished ahead of us last season, underlines our progress. Doing so well increases expectations, however, and that’s why some people have seen the Blackpool draw as a bit of a backwards step.

However, when viewed in the context of losing Ellis Simms and our lengthy injury list, I can’t feel too disappointed.

We were a little loose at points and perhaps started flagging in the last couple of minutes, but after three games in a week and with key players returning from injury, I think we did well overall.

Blackpool were over the moon with a point and that says a lot - some of the moves we put together were superb and on another day we would indeed be looking at nine points. Results are always the most important aspect of course, but when the team gives it 100% and puts on such an entertaining display, you sometimes have to accept a draw.

There’ve been plenty of times when we’ve gone behind and haven’t looked like back into the game, so it was a very encouraging point in my mind.

You could tell from the reaction in the away end that most supporters can see what we are trying to do. The stand was bouncing at points and although I got soaked on the way back to the car I was still in good spirits. To then hear Tony Mowbray talking about a sickness bug made the performance even more pleasing. We’ve got players who want to play for the shirt and that goes a long way.

To ‘only’ take seven points from three and be in the top half is a marked improvement on past seasons and I like the way things are going.

Getting the club to a position we think is suitable will take time and there will no doubt be periods where we are disappointed, but a bigger goal still looks attainable.

We’ve got a week off now and a chance to get some players back for the coming fixtures, but we can do so in a positive mood and in the knowledge that things seem to be heading the right way.

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

Kelvin Beattie says…

I think we can be very happy with the Wigan and Blackburn results, and I think we can also be very happy with the performance against Blackburn and the second half performance at the DW Stadium.

I was disappointed in the feedback on the first half at Blackpool and then delighted in what appears to have been a cracking performance in the second half, with only the final touch missing after creating some very good chances.

Sunday’s result needs to be squared off with the illness that appeared to rip through the squad prior to the game. All things considered, it’s been a successful festive period, especially coming off the back of the very poor second half against West Bromwich Albion.

With the transfer window open and plenty of speculation regarding incomings and outgoings, I remain upbeat about the team and its management!

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


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