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Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg

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Fan Letters: “Perhaps we could have done a Burnley?!”

Wonder at what might have been, joy at the return of Huggins and concern about the future of Mowbray - all in the latest RR mailbag! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Our team rightly deserve all the praise they’re getting for what they’ve already achieved this season despite being the youngest, smallest, most inexperienced squad, playing without a recognised striker and now, without any regular central defenders.

Getting into the playoffs despite those disadvantages is astonishing and is a tribute to the resilience and character of all our players. However, just think what could have been achieved if action had been taken earlier to rectify those supposed weaknesses.

Perhaps we could have done a Burnley?

I hope that Messrs KLD, Speakman and Harvey have made it top priority to bring in half a dozen Corry Evans’, Danny Batth’s and Alex Pritchard-like players and to provide Tony Mowbray with enough proper strikers so he always has the option of having two on the pitch at the same time.

Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg
Alex Pritchard
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s now clear now that 46 league games with it’s intense 2-games-a-week schedule requires a squad of two dozen battle-hardened, experienced outfield players. We must avoid a repeat of Saturday where we had a bench of players who weaken rather than strengthen the starting XI. The use of 4/5 tactical substitutes is only an option for Mowbray if he has a strong bench.

All of this will require KLD to provide the necessary funding so I hope he’s learned from what he’s seen during this exciting first season back in the Championship and makes the money available.

Of course he’ll need a lot more money if the miracle continues tomorrow night and then we notch up a third consecutive win at Wembley!

Ha’way the Lads

Peter Tyrrell

Ed’s Note [Chris]: With the incredible job they have done so far, I just hope they keep doing what they’re doing and stick with the the plan whatever happens in the play-offs. They’ve given us an identity and long may it continue.

Dear Roker Report,

Was glad to see Niall Huggins back.

Hope he can stay injury free. Never know, he might end up playing a huge part in our promotion!

Ian Hughes

Ed’s Note [Chris]: It was good to see - Huggins has had a pretty horrific time with injuries and from what we’ve seen it looks like there’s a player there so with a bit of luck he can put those injury problems behind him.

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

Dear Roker Report,

It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to be bringing up this subject yet again, especially after reading that there are now three possible candidates lined up to replace TM next season.

For the life of me I just do not get it, and sadly, the owners are seemingly the same albeit in a different thought frame. I have said it before and I am saying it again, not one other manager out there could have dragged any more from this bunch of players than the current boss has.

He has taken a team of boys to the very brink of the promised land and amongst those, he has a certain Patrick Roberts absolutely on fire. I firmly believe that Roberts is every bit as skillful as Amad and all he wanted was for a certain type of manager to believe in him and let him loose at will.

To even think about replacing the Manager next season is an absolute disgrace.

Preston North End v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Photo by Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

This guy has a knack with youngsters that cannot be coached. It is a skill accumulated throughout a lifetime of experience. Time will tell, and maybe the owners have far more foresight and wisdom we give credit for and perhaps there are things happening internally at the club we are not privy to (although I very much doubt as such, as TM is an old fashioned virtuous guy and will tell it as it is).

Then again maybe the owners are wrong and they believe in their own self importance and also that they cannot be wrong. They may be actually reveling (Ed’s note: Revels - reveling - I see what you’ve done there Peter...) in what has been achieved this season and wrongly taking all the credit for it.

Well, let’s be totally transparent here, they may have made some excellent recruitment this season, but TM is the glue that has brought all the pieces together. Could any other manager out there have done as good a job? Highly unlikely in my humble opinion.

Dare I say it? Typical SAFC.

Peter Milton

Ed’s Note [Chris]: We’re approaching silly season when it comes to summer rumours and my take on this was agents and journalists getting together to cause a bit of mischief.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Speakman would be doing his job properly if he didn’t have a list of names in a drawer to replace Tony Mowbray because in football you never know, but with the job he’s done there isn’t an obvious reason to make a change.


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