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Norwich City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “With ten games left, can Sunderland make a late charge into the playoffs?”

Thoughts on how the final ten games of the 2022/2023 season might pan out, and a suggestion as to how we can mix up our attacking options are in the RR mailbox today! Email us:

Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

With the games now starting to run out, have we arrived at a fork in the road?

The first path is the one where we’ve had a really good season back in the Championship with a strong top half finish, and the other could be a late run into the playoffs.

Previous seasons suggest we may need 75+ points for sixth place, which is another twenty three points minimum from ten games. It’s a big ask.

We’ve got three big games coming up, finishing with Burnley away, but after that we’ve got four in a row where we could get maximum points, against Hull, Cardiff, Birmingham and Huddersfield.

After that, there are two tricky games (at least draws, hopefully) against West Brom and Watford with the final game away at Preston, who have the worst home record in the division.

So if that’s twelve plus five from those, and we count Burnley away as a write off, we need maximum points from tonight’s game against Sheffield United and Luton.

That’s four days to turn on the adrenaline until May but if not, there’s always next season.

Alan Haddick

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

If I can be totally honest, I’ve got a feeling that we’ll ultimately fall short of the playoffs and possibly finish the season in tenth or ninth place.

I just think that we’re slightly short of that level at this moment in time, but that’s not me being negative or writing the rest of the season off, because I think it’s been a very good campaign overall.

I really want us to attack the final ten games with everything we’ve got, and to see where it takes us.

If we’re planning for another season in the Championship during the summer, I’d like to think that the players can use the experience they’ve gained this season and put it to good use for 2023/2024, and we can aim for the top six as a minimum!

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

Dear Roker Report,

Could Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts swapping wings be a possibility?

At the moment, we have a centre forward who wants to dart into the box and receive the ball into feet, so why not try this?

For a brief period in games, we could maybe try a fifteen minute spell where Clarke and Roberts play on the opposite side to normal.

Instead of coming inside almost all of the time, if we swap them over to change the angle of attack, it would give the opposition a problem because they could also come back the other way and shake defences up.

Robert Walker

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

I think it could be something that’s definitely worth trying. In fact, some of the fans who sit close to me in the stadium are always shouting for Tony Mowbray to swap Roberts and Clarke over, so it’s a tactic that people seem keen to see.

They're both excellent players, but good wingers can mix it up and either get to the byline or cut inside when necessary.

I think we can be a little bit predictable in that respect, so it would be great to see us become a little bit more flexible, and I wonder whether we might see it happen during the final ten games of the season.

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


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