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Sunderland v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship

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ITHICS Fanzine: Transfers, Jack Clarke ‘rumours’, learning from Boro & facing Stoke

After a few weeks off, Nic Wiseman takes stock of where things are at for Sunderland coming out of the international break - and we’re heading into Stoke with a relatively clear head...

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After the brouhaha of the Middlesbrough defeat has subsided, we can look forward to the Stoke match with a relatively clear head.

The impressive performance of the elder Bellingham boy in England’s defeat of Italy gives us renewed optimism that the younger boy will follow in his footsteps. The sniffing around of Jude’s club, Real Madrid, of his brother is also telling. I wonder want kind of fee he would command if they were interested enough to put in a bid.

It would be a shame to break up an embryonic team that’s just starting to gel (Middlesbrough aside). The most irritating thing about the transfer window was its possibility to disrupt the team, club and the fanbase.

Even the stupid stories regarding Jack Clarke haven’t died down since the window shut. ‘Apparently’, we’ve already agreed to accept a £15m fee for him. Is it really such rich clickbait to keep banging on about the latest jewel in our crown?

The only issue I have with our current much-discussed model is the accepted notion that we will sell vital cogs in our team. What’s the point of selling the likes of Clarke, Patrick Roberts, Dan Neil, Pierre Ekwah and Anthony Patterson if it disrupts the team for the sake of a profit?

I don’t care if the profits will be reinvested in the team. Teams take time to gel and (as long as we keep all eleven on the pitch) we have nothing to fear from this league.

Though, to be fair, the only player sold by the current regime so far has been Ross Stewart. And he hasn’t even played for his new side.

Southampton Unveil New Signing Ross Stewart Photo by Southampton FC via Getty Images

When the season started, I genuinely thought we had a chance of automatic promotion - then we lost our first two games.

Something Tony Mowbray said after the Southampton win was revealing - he said the amazing effort of finishing sixth last season had got some in the team believing their own publicity. That with such a young team, his biggest task is keeping their feet on the ground.

The team is ticking along nicely. Mowbray is doing a good job, though apparently the owner doesn’t think he looks good enough on social media.

This is where Kristijaan Speakmann earns his corn as a buffer.

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

Other than that, another issue that needs addressing is our home form. We’ve already lost three games at home. This needs to change, and fast. we also need to address how we deal with a game when we go down to ten men.

The capitulation against Boro was concerning, to say the least, and would possibly have been assuaged if Luke O’Nien had been moved up into midfield.

Off the top of my head we have only gained one point when going down to ten men since we got promoted to the Championship.

So on to Stoke, who are in abject form. We owe them for the home reversal last season and Alex Neil. Just Alex Neil.

A typical Sunderland will fold - but hopefully we’ve turned that particular corner.


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