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Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: Hemir or Burstow? Assessing Sunderland’s options upfront

Tony Mowbray has started the Chelsea loanee in the last two games, but could it be time for Hemir to step up?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav says...

I wouldn’t start either of them on Sunday!

It’s a bit of a 180 from me, I know, after arguing that Hemir had been hard done to, but we look better when we play a load of attacking midfielders. At home, where we’re going to have lots of the ball, I’m not convinced that the best use of our eleven selections right now is to have someone stood around waiting for the ball in the box.

I’ve found it curious that Mowbray has mentioned rotating his players and that Adil Aouchiche has stood out a bit in training, which has me thinking that he might be tempted to bring him in for Burstow and play a front five of attacking midfielders, which probably sounds really strange to some people but not to fans of Sunderland who’ve seen how well we play when we pack the pitch with technical players.

Longer term, I think our own players should be our primary concern, so whilst Burstow can hopefully contribute over the course of the season, beyond that it’s about what we can do with the lads we actually own.

Hemir might not be ready quite yet in Mowbray’s eyes but he will be at some point, and given the length of his contract I think we’ll do whatever it takes to make him a success story.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says...

Despite our impressive haul of goals this season, this is still a position where we’ve been unable to find a natural successor to Ross Stewart.

Of course, it’s still early days for the young lads currently battling it out for the shirt, and given the options at Tony Mowbray’s disposal, there’s no need to worry.

I like the idea of fielding an extra technical player as a false nine. It worked effectively for so much of last season and we still have the personnel who are suited to that approach.

However, the likes of Hemir and Burstow are here to develop and they do need game time, so it would be good to see one of them given a run in the side, with the other used from the bench and also to compete with him for a place in the side.

With Hemir being our own, I’d favour him and it was a surprise to see him taken out of the team after just a couple of league games at the start of the campaign.

It’ll also be interesting to see what role Nazariy Rusyn has to play when he’s finally ready to line up for Sunderland. At twenty four, he’s a bit older and is surely here with a view to starting games.

In short, we have many options and these will be influenced by our tactical approach to each game, but also by injuries and suspensions.

Yes, we have almost an embarrassment of riches, but once the rigours of the Championship season begin to take their toll- and we’ve seen it in previous years- selection will be influenced by which players are available game by game.

We currently have a settled starting eleven with room for rotation, but this often changes in the run up to Christmas and while some players will be unfortunate to spend time on the sidelines, others will be given unexpected chances to shine.

Malc Dugdale says...

This is a hard one to call from a fans’ perspective, as we don’t see the lads train and show their potential as footballers outside of games.

Mowbray clearly thinks Hemir is less ready than Burstow, otherwise the starting eleven would’ve been different in recent games.

That said, whilst Burstow has looked decent at times, he doesn’t seem to be streets ahead of Hemir in terms of performances and creating and converting chances.

Hemir also has the evidence from pre-season that he can click with the team and score, which Burstow doesn’t have as yet. A mate who’s a Chelsea fan did say that he’d enjoyed a good pre-season and scored goals too, but that was in a different environment.

Both players need time to settle and develop so I trust the coaches to do what’s best, but I do feel that whoever starts to show form first and gets in the goals may make the shirt their own. Hemir is more of a long-term option, given that he isn’t a loanee, so that may be a factor too.

On reflection, it’s nice to have this situation to be honest, as we haven’t had two strikers fighting for the starting berth for some time.

While they gel and settle, Jobe, Dan Neil and even Dan Ballard are scoring, and Jack Clarke will clearly ‘tear them apart, again’ given half a chance. The main thing is to let it develop naturally and get it right for the club and the players, which I totally believe Mowbray will do.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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