The Black Cats have stuttered slightly. After the disappointment of Wembley, two away victories were secured. However, the following two home games have produced just one point. Saturday’s 5-4 defeat to Coventry highlighted several weaknesses. Sunderland manager Jack Ross must now consider changes. With the club in a huge battle for promotion, here are some of the changes Ross will surely be considering.
The Changes Sunderland Manager Jack Ross Must Consider
Sunderland have struggled to keep clean sheets all season. Against Coventry, the mistakes by the Black Cats defence cost them dearly. After early season promise, Jack Baldwin has begun to struggle. He was dropped a short time ago but recently has been back at the heart of the defence.
Tom Flanagan has played alongside Baldwin of late. Flanagan had a woeful game on Saturday and the pair looked short on confidence. Taking the two out of the firing line for this week’s crucial home game against Doncaster Rovers must be at the forefront of Jack Ross’s mind.
McGeady and Cattermole to Return
Republic of Ireland international Aiden McGeady has missed the majority of the last three games through injury. He is a certainty for player of the year, and his presence on the pitch has been missed. He came on as a substitute on Saturday, but with no training behind him, and obviously not fully fit, he could not make the impact he would have liked.
Although Sunderland have missed the inventive McGeady, they have also missed Lee Cattermole. Although Cattermole is not captain, he displays all the attributes needed on the pitch. The combative midfielder has been missing since the EFL Trophy Final. He was an unused substitute on Saturday; however, the Black Cats could use his influence for the run in.
Honeyman not a Wide Man
Captain George Honeyman has been used as a wide midfielder lately. However, the last two games have shown that this is definitely not a natural position for him. On too many occasions he was caught out of position, leaving the fullback facing a two on one situation.
Honeyman is a local lad and wears his heart on his sleeve. However much he tries, the position of wide midfield is not for him based on recent games. Expect Honeyman to move into a central position for the remaining games of the season.
442 or Five in Midfield?
For the past four games, manager Jack Ross has reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.
The return of Charlie Wyke has seen goals for himself and partner Will Grigg; however, with an extra striker playing, an extra player to protect the defence was sacrificed. For most of this season, Ross has played with a sole striker. And for the most part, this has worked. When fans called for a change to two up front early in the year, he obliged; however, the change did not work. With Sunderland’s defence problematic, few would be surprised to see a return to a five-man midfield.
Maguire to Return Soon?
Chris Maguire has been a miss. After a tough spell during midseason, he came back with a bang. The man affectionally known as the ‘king’ amongst fans, has been missing since fracturing his leg. Maguire has the quality and influence to change games. He is expected to be training before the next game. If he is able to play a part, expect him to be on the bench. Something which would delight fans.