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Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: Could Sunderland change their system in order to compete against Burnley?

Vincent Kompany’s team are sure to be a tough opponent, so could Tony Mowbray make some tactical adjustments for Friday night’s trip to Turf Moor?

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

Ewan Bowman says…

I feel that Mowbray should go with exactly the same approach as he did against Norwich.

On that day, when the Canaries had the ball, we were quick to go back into shape and offered up very few chances against a good side.

Whilst on the break we looked very threatening and could’ve scored two or three, Norwich are not Burnley but there are similarities in how they both play. We know Burnley like to dominate the ball, so it’s important that both in and out of possession, we’re at our very best.

Dan Ballard is an injury doubt for this game and it would be a big blow if he was ruled out.

If he’s unavailable, I’d play Luke O’Nien alongside Danny Batth at centre half with Trai Hume at right back and Dennis Cirkin at left back, if he’s available

One of the major positives is our away record this season.

When teams come onto us, I feel we’re at our best when we get the ball back and release it quickly to the likes of Patrick Roberts, Amad Diallo and Jack Clarke who can produce moments of quality.

This will be the biggest test so far so season against easily the best team in the division.

I expect the lads to give it their all like they always do, but we must stay solid defensively and hopefully the attacking players we have can create and get us the goals to give us the win.

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

Joseph Tulip says…

This is a great opportunity for us because it’s a free hit against the Championship’s top club in their own back yard.

Burnley will be strong favourites and both sets of players and fans will remember their impressive comeback from 2-0 down at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season.

We can take a lot of positives from that first half, during which they couldn’t contain our creative players. It firmly demonstrated just what we are capable of, but clearly we’re not the finished article and are missing several key players due to injury.

What’s intriguing is that we now face Burnley away from home, and it’s on the road where we have picked up so many points this season.

I liked the way we approached the Norwich game and this one has a similar feel. Let the media and the pundits wax lyrical over Vincent Kompany’s side while we quietly go about our business.

I’d have no problem if Tony Mowbray wants to go with a back five, with the flexibility of utilising attack-minded wing backs in possession. However, with Dan Ballard sidelined I’m sure this will depend on availability.

In short, I don’t mind if we get men behind the ball, rely on our creativity on the break and see if we can eke out a positive result.

My only concern is that if we’re still in the game with twenty minutes to go, I don’t want to see us sitting too deep.

Against Norwich, we seemed to finish the game with a back six and they piled the pressure on, but on the other hand, if that’s what we have to do against the league leaders and it pays off as it did at Carrow Road, I’d certainly take it.

Perhaps we’d be better off just playing our normal game and making sure there’s a deep lying midfielder in front of the back four. With Danny Batth and Luke O’Nien in there, we won’t be giving anything away too cheaply at the back and we know what we can do going forward.

Lars Knutsen says…

We can treat this away game the way we approached the FA Cup tie against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

There’s no doubt that Burnley will be in the top flight next season after the amazing Championship campaign they’ve had, so this game is in effect a test against Premier League opposition.

At Craven Cottage, we played without fear against gifted opposition and came close to claiming a deserved victory.

For us to be competitive at Turf Moor, we need to excel in defence, which means that Dan Neil and Edouard Michut will have to protect the back four effectively. As any manager will say, we mustn’t concede the first goal and as we saw at Norwich, if we score first it’ll give the team something to defend.

What’s been the secret of our remarkable away form this season? We’ve won eight times and scored twenty nine goals, a total beaten only by third-placed Middlesbrough, and our hosts on Friday.

It’s the way we’ve been able to attack on the break, exploiting the speed and togetherness of Roberts, Amad and Clarke, and this has all been achieved without a target man in most games.

One can’t help admiring what Vincent Kompany has achieved in Lancashire during his first season managing in England, but all teams have off days, so more of the same from our young attack, with the hope that the Championship leaders will be a bit shell shocked after their drubbing at Manchester City.

Solid defence and the first goal may mean we emerge with more than just credit from our game on Friday night.

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


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