Well, we finally lost... how much does it matter?
Nobody expected Sunderland to get absolutely twatted - I certainly didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought a ticket to sit in the home end surrounded by absolute morons on a rainy Tuesday evening. I probably would have just stayed home, put my feet up and watched something else on the telly instead.
Hartlepool, to their credit, played at full pelt and like they wanted to win, which I suppose isn’t common for a pre-season game. Their front players pressed the hell out of us and caused us to make mistakes, which led to a series of goals.
Does it really matter, though, when all’s said and done?
I’d argue not. Yes, it’s mildly annoying for those of us who made the trek down the A19 to spend our money and watch it, but it’s not really going to change anything.
When the players are back in training today at the Academy of Light they won’t even be thinking about Hartlepool, because next on the agenda is the first league game of the season.
Sometimes you lose games in pre-season, it happens. Coventry got battered off Nuneton last night and Leroy Lita scored one of the goals (by the way... how the hell is he still playing? I’m sure he’s forty odd) - do you think they’ll really care, deep down?
I’m sure they won’t. No need to overreact. Accept it happened, and move on.
No headaches for Mogga, then!
I guess the one big takeaway from yesterday’s match is that the team on Sunday virtually picks itself.
I wrote in the preview that this was the last big chance for some players to insert themselves into Tony Mowbray’s thinking ahead of the Ipswich game, and nobody really took their chance. I guess you could perhaps make an arguement for Alex Pritchard’s inclusion as he was the best of a bad bunch, but otherwise I think the side that takes to the field at the weekend will be the one that started against Mallorca on Saturday gone.
I was intrigued by the selection of Luke O’Nien over Danny Batth in that game but Batth did absolutely nothing at Pools to suggest he should be playing ahead of Mr Sunderland, nor did Lynden Gooch, who played sloppily and won’t be worrying Trai Hume anytime soon.
Elsewhere - we lack depth in goal, central midfield and up front so those positions are safe for the lads currently occupying them, and whilst I like Ba and Bennette I don’t think they’re anywhere near the standard of Clarke and Roberts at the minute.
I’m cool with that at the minute though - the team that’s likely to start at the weekend looks strong, and I think we’re in canny shape all things considered.
Absences explained... and a player coming in
Luke O’Nien’s name was a noticeable absence from the players on the bench when the team was announced, but after the game, Mowbray explained he’s not injured but he was given permission to have a night off - hopefully everything’s alright there.
There was also no Isaac Lihadji, who was supposed to be starting but was apparently removed from the side as there’s been an advancement with his transfer out of the club, reportedly to a side in Qatar. Good luck to the lad I guess - I can’t say that losing him overly bothers me. It feels like Mayenda was his replacement anyways.
Mowbray did however confirm to the press that Nathan Bishop’s transfer from Manchester United is all but done, which is good news and means we have some strong competition for Anthony Patterson coming into the club.
It’s a shame Bishop has been starting games for Man U during the summer as I would have liked to have seen him come in earlier and show us what he’s all about, but it is what it is.
I imagine that he’s not the only player we’d like to sign who’s currently tied up meeting their obligations at their current clubs before being allowed to leave - we’ll just have to be patient.