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Luton Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Play Off - Semi Final - Second Leg - Kenilworth Road

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Fan Letters: “Sunderland did brilliantly considering the injuries we’ve had to deal with”

Thoughts on how the Lads acquitted themselves in the absence of key players, the progress made during 2022/2023, and views on a possible Wembley final are in the RR mailbox today! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I think the team did the region proud and they went as far as they could, considering the critical injury situation that we’ve had this season.

Some people might say that’s just an excuse, but it’s a straight fact . The squad, along with Tony Mowbray and his backroom staff, can only be praised for their fortitude and resilience during a hard fought season.

Now, it’s up to the recruitment team to get into serious negotiations with players, clubs and agents, and to get contracts signed, sealed and delivered so that we can strengthen the squad where necessary and re-establish the equilibrium within the whole team.

Finally, stop all this rumour mongering about Mowbray being replaced. He’s here and we want him to stay here and lead us back into the Premier League.

Malcolm Donnison

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

I agree that the players deserve huge credit for the way they handled themselves as injuries threatened to knock our season off course. Perhaps it caught up with them in the end, but their attitude and application couldn’t be faulted, and that’s encouraging for next season.

On the subject of Tony Mowbray’s future, I don’t think the club necessarily needs to respond to gossip, but he definitely deserves the chance to continue in the role and you’d hope that the planning for next season has already begun.

Further progress will be expected after our efforts during 2022/2023, and that’s how it should be.

Luton Town v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Disappointed at Tuesday night? Greatly. Surprised? Not so much, because the turnaround was too quick, but this season has been terrific.

Look at the positives: Trai Hume, Dan Ballard, Aji Alese and Pierre Ekwah are established first team players with room for improvement, and Dan Neil, Anthony Patterson and Ross Stewart are new to this level but are very much at home.

Lynden Gooch, Luke O’Nien, Patrick Roberts, Alex Pritchard and Jack Clarke all showed that they have the desire and heart to play at this level and above.

It’s over to the recruitment team now. Onwards and upwards!

Keep the faith.

Jim Wales

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

The way the season ended was certainly disappointing but as you say, the bigger picture is extremely positive as we prepare for what will be a big summer.

The core of the squad will remain together, hopefully under the guidance of Tony Mowbray, and if they continue to improve and some additions can be made, there’s no reason we can’t achieve a top six finish or even higher in 2023/2024.

This is one of the most exciting Sunderland teams I can remember, and that in itself represents a big step forward.

Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet Championship - Play Off - Semi Final - First Leg - Stadium of Light Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I think the general consensus is that everyone’s happy that we’ve had a fantastic season and Luton was just a game too much.

However, I can’t help feeling relieved that it was Luton that did us and not Coventry or Middlesbrough in the final.

It would’ve been awful to lose at Wembley to one of those two teams and no doubt they’d have brought trouble to Trafalgar Square on the Friday night, ruining our good reputation there.

I also think that Kristjaan Speakman needs to put something out on the Tony Mowbray rumours and put it to bed, because it’s not the time for division when everyone has come together.

Paul Robinson

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

If it wasn’t Sunderland who took that third promotion spot, I actually wanted it to be Middlesbrough but as it is, I don’t really mind, or care who wins the playoff final. Two fairly forgettable teams, neither of whom are likely to do a great deal in the Premier League.

On Tony Mowbray, I’m fairly confident that he’ll remain at the club, but the likes of Speakman have already shown that they’re not afraid of making tough calls in order to keep the club moving forward. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

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


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