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Fulham v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round

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Fan Letters: “I’ve never seen a more fluid Sunderland side!”

Thoughts on our style of play and how Ross Stewart’s absence might affect us are in the RR mailbox today. Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Everything pre-match indicated that it was going to be a rough day, and it certainly was.

One of the most complicated outings of the season in a stadium where you have to leave everything on the pitch, just ask Dennis Cirkin.

We are much more talented than Millwall, but that doesn’t matter at their home ground. However, we played professionally and sensibly, getting an important point against a direct rival in order to try to get into the Playoffs.

Joe Gelhardt clearly has different characteristics to Stewart, but he can replace them with many other qualities. I thought he had a challenging afternoon but still very involved.

Joe Anderson caught my eye a lot, I think he has the attributes to progress into an important first team player and go on to be a future partner of Dan Ballard, taking over from Danny Batth.

We haven’t seen much of the new signings yet, but they will most probably be important for squad rotation until the end of the season. I have total confidence in them.

Ha’way the Lads!

From Bilbao…

Ekaitz - Bilbao Black Cats

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Hi Ekaitz! Cheers for writing in for the first time.

I was impressed with how well we played, actually. It wasn’t a classic Sunderland display but given the opposition and location, was it ever likely to be? We needed to dig in and we did, and I actually feel happy we got a point. Not many sides will go to Millwall this season, score from a set piece and come from behind to earn a point, so in one sense I guess you could say we did well to earn the draw.

Dear Roker Report,

I’ve watched the Fulham highlights again and although we’ll ultimately miss Ross Stewart, I’ve never seen a more fluid Sunderland side.

Up front, we’re like a pack of dogs as we move forward and with more clinical finishing, we could and should’ve dumped Fulham out of the cup.

We play with no fear because that’s what youth brings. I think we need to embrace it and certainly enjoy it because it’s far away from the rubbish we’ve endured for decades.

It’s a results business. so let’s see where we are at the end of the season.

We may be surprised at how far these young guns are willing to go for the club and even if they fall short, they’ll have gained valuable experience.

Derek Perry.

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Derek. Thanks for getting in touch.

I completely agree with you regarding our style of play.

The football we’re capable of is magnificent to watch and although we won’t be able to play with such freedom during every single game, the talent within the squad is immense and they’re only going to improve with time.

We’ll definitely miss Ross Stewart, without a doubt, and we’ll have to make some adjustments to compensate for his absence, but this is easily one of the best squads we’ve had in recent times, and they’ve also got a superb attitude and level of commitment to go with their skill.

Fulham v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Ross Stewart’s injury is a setback and not bringing in another striker in January is certainly going to make things interesting, but it’s clear that everyone is working hard behind the scenes.

Some people have short memories and should enjoy the remainder of the season, wherever we finish. I’m still eyeing the fifty five point mark and seeing what happens once that’s achieved.

Apart from the football and the effort put in most weeks, I’ve enjoyed the connection between the fans and the players, and it feels like the good times are back.

I was at Fulham away- what a game and what an amazing atmosphere! The way we backed the lads from start to finish was memorable.

Let’s get behind them and enjoy the rest of the season, as I think it’ll be a tougher league next year.

Ha’way the lads!

Ken Tuck.

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

The point you make about the connection between the fans and the team is an interesting one, because I think this is a Sunderland team that we can all get behind.

They’re dedicated, hardworking, and eager to improve, and after some of the players who’ve represented us in recent times, it’s a welcome change.

Regarding the rest of the season, I think you’re right not to dismiss our chances.

With seventeen games left, there’s still plenty to play for, and although you can’t gloss over the loss of Stewart, we’ve got a very talented squad and it’s a chance for the other lads to chip in with goals and to show that we can still be competitive even without our leading striker.

Fulham v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images


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