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Fan Letters: “It’s nice to see some stability at Sunderland, but things can always be better”

Thoughts on how the ownership can continue to reach out to the fans, praise for Luke O’Nien and observations on Sunderland Women are in the RR mailbox today! Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

It’s nice to see a bit of stability at the club but I wish the owners would show as much passion and care as the fans.

How long do we have to wait until we purchase real cover for forwards with injuries, for example?

Like all fans, I really love this club and I must admit that I wasn’t too keen on Tony Mowbray, but he’s had us playing some really decent football since he took over.

Let’s hope that next season shows a big improvement, and I’m looking forward to a fantastic season.

I’m keeping the faith. Haway the lads!

Madouadi

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

Regarding the issue of strikers, I think it’s a given that we’ll bring in reinforcements during the summer and that the lessons will be learned from the January transfer window. We need greater depth up front and it’ll be a top priority.

On Tony Mowbray, I wasn’t initially blown away by his appointment, but I think he’s done a very good job, particularly when it comes to helping the young players to develop.

It hasn’t been plain sailing, but I really do like him and I’m keen to see what he can achieve next season.

Sunderland Open Training Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

In my opinion, Luke O’Nien is Sunderland’s player of the season.

Yes, there have been some top performers, but has anyone shown the consistency of O’Nien, in many different positions whilst also improving? I think not.

Given that he was written off by many as someone who wouldn’t cut it, I think his performances have been outstanding.

Player of the season for me. What do you think?

Ian Hughes

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

O’Nien would have a very good claim to be our player of the season, without a doubt.

His attitude, work rate, commitment to the cause and willingness to play wherever he's asked have all been exemplary, and it’s great to see him finally getting the credit that he rightly deserves.

The likes of Danny Batth and Amad would also be in with a very good shout, but O’Nien might just edge it when the decision is made.

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

Dear Roker Report,

Is it time for a change of manager of the Sunderland Ladies team?

Despite signing two international players (Ejupi and Morgan) and the addition of the experienced Westrup and McPartlan, there’s been no improvement on last season.

In fact, this season is almost identical to last, with the usual 1-0 or 2-1 defeats followed by Mel Reay’s usual “Disappointing, we have to do better,” post-match talk.

All season she’s persisted with the same 4-2-3-1 line up which has failed to win us games or keep clean sheets. She consistently makes the same substitutions and Jessica Brown and Abby Joice must know before kick off that they’re going to get hooked around the seventy minute mark. On come the like-for-like substitutions and the same formation is kept.

Why not vary it, Mel?

The team is crying out for a back three of McCatty and Westrup with Herron in the middle, who’s able to surge forward to help the attack and midfield with her driving runs.

When Ejupi joined, I thought at last we can put her and Scarr (our leading goalscorer ) up top and the two tall girls will likely get us a few goals, but what happens? Scarr is banished to the wing where she’s wasted.

For some obscure reason, we recently signed another goalkeeper and although it’s common to take a spare goalkeeper along to a game to cover for possible warm up injuries, we now have two goalkeepers on the bench each week. It’s crazy!

While the men’s team is blooding young talent, the Ladies are treating their future stars appallingly.

Young Ede and McInnes have been on the bench for most of the season yet they’re hardly ever used as Mel is reluctant to make more than two substitutions and those are always made reactively rather than proactively.

We had the situation a few weeks back where Ede was called up to captain England’s under-18 side despite not having played a full game this season. How on Earth can she be expected to play ninety minutes for England when the most football she’s had is ten minutes, and very occasionally, as a substitute?

We now have a Ladies Under-23 side who are top of their league and doing well, so why haven’t Ede and McInnes, plus maybe Katy Watson been given minutes with them?

It seems to me that Mel is very much ‘stuck in her ways’ and nothing will change.

Time to move on.

Bjorn Shigg

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Bjorn. Thanks for getting in touch and I’m sure your letter will strike a chord with those who follow the Lasses on a regular basis.

Personally, I don’t watch their games so I’m not ideally placed to comment on the specific points you’ve raised, but it’s always good to get critical feedback on all of the teams who play as part of the Sunderland family.

Crystal Palace Women v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Henry Browne - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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