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Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: After the Cardiff blip, how can Sunderland respond this week?

Sunday’s defeat was frustrating but with a trip to Hillsborough to come, it’s a great chance to put the loss behind us. We asked our writers for their thoughts!

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ewan Bowman says...

Overall, we controlled the game, but if you don’t take your chances you get punished and that’s what happened on Sunday.

We couldn’t break Cardiff down and we must find a way, particularly at home, to break teams down when they sit back and defend with ten men behind the ball.

This was a problem last season and it was a frustrating result, but we move on.

As we move towards Friday, I think there’ll be at least one change due to the volume of games in the last week or two, and that Patrick Roberts will come back into the side for Abdoullah Ba.

Ba has been great but he did look leggy on Sunday and he didn’t affect the game as he had done in previous matches.

I also think we’ll see more of Adil Aouchiche in the coming weeks as he’s looked bright and inventive every time he’s come on.

There’s no panic from me ahead of Friday’s game.

Yes, we’re playing Sheffield Wednesday who are bottom of the league, but I’ve said for over a year that we’re a better team away from home due to our style of play and teams coming onto us more.

This will play into our hands, particularly with our quality at the top end of the pitch.

I fully expect the lads to bounce back and respond strongly on Friday.

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

Malc Dugdale says…

The game went well for all but that unfortunate few minutes in the second half on Sunday. Generally we were OK but we lacked the killer instinct in and around the box.

Personally I feel it was one of those frustrating days that we have to expect from time to time, but if you look at the whole game, we only needed to have a bit more quality at certain times and we would’ve taken something from the game, and maybe even won.

My view is that we don’t need a massive overhaul this week but we certainly need to focus on converting chances ready for Friday.

Having two winnable games both going the same way would be more of a concern, and one we need to avoid for both the team’s sake and to prevent the usual social media meltdown.

The only other things I’d consider if I were the gaffer would be to rest some of the lads, either to help our chances of success or to prevent damage to our tactics where players need more recovery time than this game will give us.

Alex Pritchard played well but he isn’t a ‘three games in ten days’ type of player. Trai Hume looked shattered towards the end of Sunday’s game, which may have contributed to his errors.

Maybe they can warm the bench and let others start this Friday night, although who can cover for Hume is a bit of a quandary.

Perhaps we could switch Abdoullah Ba and Patrick Roberts, and allow Roberts to wear Wednesday down before unleashing Ba and others on them later?

Both have a lot to offer and Roberts is surely back to full fitness now. If that’s also the case for Pierre Ekwah, I’d love to see him back as he’s been a big miss.

I’d also give Nazariy Rusyn and Adil Aouchiche more time, and consider Hemir rather than Mason Burstow. These lads haven’t done a lot wrong but we have a squad, and many of them will want to contribute and are more than capable of doing so.

They say the definition of insanity is changing nothing and expecting a different outcome, and although that doesn’t really apply when considering two totally different teams that we have to take on, a few tweaks may well get us back to winning ways on the road.

Being closer to that top group who are steadily building a gap we don’t want is the aim. There’s a long way to go and some of them will fade for sure, but let’s not get left behind, and make up for Sunday.

Phil West says...

Sunday was frustrating and losing the game late on was a sucker punch after such a controlled and disciplined performance, but I don’t see it as requiring an inquest or as ‘a reality check’, which is often a favourite response from our fans to these kinds of losses.

With a little more cutting edge up top and more sharpness at the back, we win that game comfortably and just as we secured a 3-1 victory over Blackburn in the face of some intense pressure from Rovers, Cardiff did the same to us after riding their luck. One chance, one goal, end of game.

That’s just the nature of the Championship. It’s highly competitive, it can be gloriously unpredictable and that’s what makes it (in my opinion) a purer and more organic league.

Looking ahead to Friday night, it’s an interesting-looking fixture against a club in crisis and who’ve made very, very heavy weather of their own Championship return.

Xisco Munoz always felt like a strange fit for Sheffield Wednesday. They haven’t adapted well, despite having the immortal Barry Bannan within their ranks (not my words, the words of Andy Hinchcliffe, probably), and it’s a great chance for us to pick up another three points on the road.

In terms of changes, I’d be looking at bringing in the likes of Adil Aouchiche and Patrick Roberts, both of whom could make a big impact against the Owls.

Roberts’ quality is well known and Aouchiche looks like a very exciting prospect too. Abdoullah Ba has been impressive recently, but there’s no harm in potentially resting him for this fixture.

Upfront, this feels like a good time to start Hemir or perhaps even Nazariy Rusyn, although he’s clearly still building his fitness up after arriving at the club and the Watford game could be a more realistic target.

I refuse to join the chorus of anyone yelling ‘to hell with developing someone else’s player’ because I think Mason Burstow has a lot to offer, but Hemir needs minutes and this could be the ideal chance for him to get at least an hour’s worth of football in the tank.

Let’s use this game as a chance to park the Cardiff defeat and get back to winning ways in South Yorkshire.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images


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