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Norwich City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: Has Abdoullah Ba’s chance finally arrived at Sunderland?

In the absence of Amad, the young Frenchman caught the eye against Norwich on Sunday with an impressive performance. We asked our writers whether he could be in line for an extended run in the team

Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Gav says…

I think he’s earned more trust from the head coach and the fans on the back of his performance, so I’d keep him in.

I don’t think there’s a bigger Amad fan than Tony Mowbray, but even he must concede that Amad’s levels have dropped recently, and his injury is probably well-timed, as he needs the break.

Mowbray confirmed that Amad and Alex Pritchard are both likely to be back at the weekend, so Wednesday is another opportunity for Ba to cement his place in the team.

He didn’t touch the ball much against Norwich but that was largely due to the way we had to play out of possession and on Wednesday it’s an entirely different test.

We’ll be expected to have more of the ball against Sheffield United and if Ba plays, I want to see him getting on it more and driving at defenders and midfielders in the same way he did when he scored his goal down at Carrow Road.

Players have to earn their place in the team, and whilst Amad is definitely a better player than Ba at this stage in each of their respective careers, he’s also not our player.

I think Ba’s goal showed that he’s capable of contributing and the key going forward should be in introducing him more and more over the final ten games before the season ends.

We’re going to need him next season and for me, that has to be at the front of Mowbray’s mind when coming to any decision now over who does and doesn’t play.

Norwich City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Anthony Gair says…

A few weeks ago, I was ridiculed (mainly in the Roker Report WhatsApp chat) for saying that Ba wasn’t anywhere near the finished article and wouldn’t be an asset to the team right now.

It’s weird, isn’t it? Being wrong is rare for me, as I’m ALWAYS right- just ask the Mrs!

Anyway, I’m eating those words right now.

His work rate is astounding, he runs himself into the ground and he appears to absolutely relish playing in an attacking role. Training and playing alongside the likes of Amad, Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke must make it natural for players such as Ba to be completely attack-minded when entering the field of play.

The way he played against Norwich (especially in the first half) completely debunked any doubts I had about him playing in the first team. Yes, it’s only one game, but the way he put himself about and made mature decisions shocked me to my core.

He’s a player, a very good one at that, and so much so that I feel we now have a suitable replacement for Amad when he inevitably returns to Manchester Utd and becomes the next Ronaldo.

Michael Dunne says…

I’ve always felt that Ba has shown enough quality to prove that he’s ready to kick on and more and play more regularly.

In comparison to some of the younger players we bought, namely Jewison Bennette and Pierre Ekwah, Ba doesn’t look as raw and he has a level of composure that would fool spectators into thinking he is a little older than his nineteen years.

Furthermore, one can only imagine that he is on cloud nine after scoring on Sunday and this should be the ideal time to give him a run of games, considering we’ve got nothing to lose in relation to our season.

At some point, Tony Mowbray is going to have to give these guys a shot, and now is as good a time as any.

Norwich City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images


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