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Fan Letters: “Why are Sunderland suffering so many injuries?”

Thoughts on our lengthy list of absences, memories of the great Len Shackleton and reflections on the Norwich game are in the RR mailbox today! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Why do we have so many injuries?

Would anyone care to investigate or explain?

Terry Lydon

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Terry. Thanks for your letter.

We’ve had plenty of letters speculating about the root cause of our seemingly never ending injury crisis, and the truth is that only the club’s medical department know for sure.

It could be a result of overly intense training sessions or physical fragility on behalf of certain players, and it’s probably a fair bet that the staff are just as frustrated about it as we are.

It was good to see Dennis Cirkin returning to the fold against Leicester last week and against Norwich on Saturday, and hopefully other players will follow soon. With a fully fit squad, we should be a match for any team in the division, so I think there’s certainly cause for optimism.

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

Dear Roker Report,

In January 1949, Sunderland were involved in the biggest upset there had ever been in the FA Cup.

They played Yeovil Town, a non-league team and lost 1-2 in the fourth round.

At the time, Len Shackleton and Len Duns had an ice cream emporium in the village of Sacriston, where I lived at the time.

On the Wednesday after the game on Saturday, Shack was in the local Institute and as a thirteen year-old, I approached him and asked for his autograph.

“What? You want my autograph after Saturday?” he said to me.

“Yes please”, I replied. Unfortunately, with the passage of over seventy years, I no longer have it.

They had the ice cream place for two or three years and were often seen in there.

Pleasant memories, and of course, Shack was a good cricketer and played in the Durham Senior League.

Brian Littleton

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Brian. Thanks for getting in touch and for sharing your memories of the great man!

I have to admit that Shack is one of the Sunderland players that I’ve always been utterly fascinated by.

I’ve read so much about him and the impact he made in red and white after making the switch from Newcastle, and I often wish that I’d been born fifty years earlier so I could’ve seen him in his pomp, thrilling the crowds at Roker Park and on the road.

Evidently, his talents went beyond the football field and I didn’t know about his ice cream business, so thank you for providing me with another interesting piece of information about the ‘Clown Prince of Soccer’.

Soccer - Football League Division One - Sunderland Training Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

If we can keep the same team that started against Norwich, these lads have the potential to go all the way, barring injuries, yellow cards and dismissals from dodgy referees.

Everyone played well and Nazariy Rusyn starting was great because he’s fast and he put himself about. However, our back four have to stop picking up needless yellow cards, and the fourth official is as much use as a bucket with a hole in it!

Swansea will be a tough team to beat but we have the ability, so let’s get stuck in and win.

Bill Calvert

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Bill. Thanks for your letter.

The performance against Norwich was a vast improvement and I felt that as a template for how we should always attempt to play at home, it was almost perfect.

We controlled the game very well against an admittedly limited opponent, and I fully agree that Nazariy Rusyn made a positive impression. He looked sharp, lively, and capable of stretching the opposing defence, which is something we’ve definitely lacked upfront recently.

I think we’ll head into the game against Swansea in a positive mood having emerged from a poor run of form, and the trip to South Wales should hold no fear. Let’s hope we can bring home another three points!

Sunderland vs Middlesbrough Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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