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Sunderland v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “Sunderland’s decision to finally field a striker paid off against Preston!”

Thoughts on a sharper red and white attacking display and praise for the RR podcast and Michael Beale’s impact at Sunderland are in the mailbox today! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Finally we played a striker against Preston and he scored, so I hope we give Nazariy Rusyn an extended run in the team now. It was excellent play from Jack Clarke to create the chance, but that’s what you get from him.

Alex Pritchard was also brilliant and he showed once again why we need to keep him.

I’m not sure if Michael Beale picked the team but there was definitely more positivity, and the only negative was bringing on Abdoullah Ba.

He was very poor again and he seemed to have no idea, because when he got the ball, he invariably lost it.

Happy New Year, and bring on the Mags!

Philip Wright

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Philip. Thanks for your letter, and a happy new year to you as well!

The performance against Preston, particularly in an attacking sense, was much sharper than we’ve often seen and I thought Nazariy Rusyn’s performance was impressive.

He was always alert and always seeking to stretch the Preston defence, and both the movement and sharpness he showed for his goal were excellent, so I fully agree that he deserves a run of games to show what he can do.

The move that led to the goal was excellent and it goes to show what happens when we’re a bit more direct and not desperate to score the ‘perfect’ goal.

As for Abdoullah Ba, there’s definitely a talented player there but he is erratic and he can make mistakes at crucial moments.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him loaned out this month in order to gain some first team experience elsewhere, because he’s certainly a player worth persisting with in the longer term.

Sunderland v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I just wanted to write and extend my thanks for the podcast content. I’m an American, I’m twenty nine and I’d never watched any soccer in my life until this year.

About six months ago, I watched the ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ documentary when my son was born. I wanted to learn about football in an effort to hedge my bets in case my son likes soccer more than baseball or hockey.

Lo and behold, the documentary completely blew me away and I’ve become a massive fan.

I bought the Sunderland season pass and have watched almost every game this season, and I also find myself refreshing Spotify looking for your episodes almost every day.

Thank you for making me feel connected as a new fan and for educating me on the state of the club as well. Excited to be along for the ride.

Haway the lads!

Steve Raines

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Steve. Thanks for getting in touch and for your kind words about the podcast.

It’s always wonderful to hear that the Roker Rapport Podcast is reaching Sunderland supporters in all corners of the globe. It’s a real labour of love for those involved with it and hearing positive feedback makes it even more worthwhile.

Be sure to stay tuned in, because we’ll have plenty more podcast content as the 2023/2024 season continues to unfold and the Lads hopefully continue to challenge for a playoff spot!

Hull City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - MKM Stadium Photo by Ian Hodgson/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Props to Michael Beale, because he arrived at Sunderland under intense scrutiny but recent results have been good and they indicate that we’re looking forwards and not back.

I’ll write the Newcastle match off if we lose, but if we win, it’ll help Beale to win over many of the doubters who booed and didn’t want him to start with.

Ian Hughes

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

I fully agree with you about Michael Beale’s start to life as Sunderland head coach.

I was very vocal about the fact that I didn’t feel he was the right man to replace Tony Mowbray, and I do think he’s still got much to prove as he looks to help the team progress.

At the same time, it’s only fair to judge him on results and performances above all else and two wins, a draw and a loss is a solid return after four games.

There are bigger tests to come, of course, but if he continues to oversee the team’s progression and can demonstrate that he’s the right man to take us forward, I’m sure there’ll be many people who could be proven wrong, and I’ll gladly be among them.

Sunderland v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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