TRASH TALK SUNDERLAND

Many Thanks to Black Cats fan Joe Hay for helping us out this week with Trash Talk and he joins the growing list of fans that fear Scott Twine. He nearly broke the hearts of Ipswich fans last weekend, better luck this time.

1 – With the Transfer Window done and dusted, how has it gone for your club, some great acquisitions, or have you lost a player that you would really have liked to have kept for the run in?  

January has been quite an eventful month as far as the club’s concerned. The addition of several attacking talents as well as the return of club icon Jermain Defoe certainly gave encouragement after a difficult month on the pitch. However, the offloading of several senior players (alongside the tedious search for Lee Johnson’s managerial replacement) has left the fans confused with the policy regarding the overall recruitment of the football club. Alex Neil has pointed out the lack of experience after less than 24 hours after being appointed. This is something that is an obvious flaw when you look at the variation in results, we’ve obtained this season.

2 – Where do you see your club being in the league table at the end of the season, and indeed where do you see the MK Dons finishing?

I can see us both finishing in a very similar position to be fair. It looks like Wigan and Rotherham will both have enough to see themselves through to the automatic promotion places. Sunderland vs MK Dons is a fixture I can really see being a playoff semi-final come May. Both can be exciting teams on their day playing great football but at the same time neither are consistent enough to deserve to be promoted automatically. I do think this may probably be something that will be obvious come Saturday evening too.

3 – Who is the best and the worst team you have played this season so far?

No surprise for guessing that Rotherham was the best team. Clinical and ruthless on the attack when we played them away from home. Granted we’ve been battered quite a few times away, but I do feel like Rotherham put us under the most pressure throughout the 90. We didn’t have a sniff. Worst is difficult. The Doncaster game in late December was definitely the easiest game we’ve had all season, but we’ve played them very recently and they’ve looked better since recruiting in January. There isn’t a single team who we’ve done the double against either which makes it difficult to say. I’ll stick with Donny which is quite rough considering they turned us over the other week…

4 – If you had the opportunity which current League 1 player would you like to sign for your club?

We’re absolutely desperate for a competent centre half and someone who I don’t think gets enough credit is Michael Ihiekwe. A great defender at this level and one who’s been promoted before, something were crying out for really. Wright and Batth are in theory great, but they’ve not been part of a team who’ve been promoted out of this division recently. Ihiekwe would come in and be one of the most experienced in the dressing room immediately. Obviously, it’s a hypothetical scenario but a character like him would be such a dream at this point.

5 – Promotion and playoff places are tight this season, who do you see filling those berths?

I’ve already conceded were not getting an automatic spot. In fact, if anyone’s going to challenge the top two, I think you lot are probably best placed for it. I’m going to say we turn our recent form around and make the playoffs with yourselves, Wycombe, and Sheffield Wednesday, who I think are steadily improving.

6 – One team always seems to come from nowhere to challenge for a playoff spot, who would be your pick?

Obviously, my predictions feature teams quite close to those spots anyway. However, if I were to pick one team to upset the odds and sneak in, with all their experience I’d have to say Pompey. They’re always in and around there and they’ve gradually got better as the season’s gone on. Plus, it would be very Sunderland to sell two of our fringe players and for them to then pull off blinders to spur on an unlikely promotion push!

7 – Is there any MK Dons player that you fear could be a big influence on the result of our fixture?

I’m terrified of Scott Twine! He’s arguably been the player of the division this season and exactly the type of player we fear, one that can run at a defence and create chance after chance. If MK Dons play in a positive manner, and I’ve no doubt they will, we will struggle to cope I reckon. Matt O’Reilly would’ve run the game on Saturday too so I’m glad he’s gone (sorry!)

8 – What style of play can we expect to see from your team?

It’s very hard to gauge after one game under a new boss less than 24 hours after being hired. I would say be in for a team that likes to move with the ball through the middle, plays most of the football on the floor and, if confident, can play through the lines and at a high tempo. However, I think on this occasion you may have most of the ball and we’ll look for quick openings through Ross Stewart and his attacking support. When we do commit though, we are hopeless at the back. One long ball over the top could do us in many situations if it hasn’t been addressed in Alex Neil’s first week. If there’s an early goal it could be a goal fest but if not, I can see it being quite tense.

9 – Can you tell us a player we should look out for from your team?

The man in form now is Alex Pritchard. Two free kick goals in his last two and is our main creative outlet. Way too good for this division if it wasn’t already obvious when we signed him. Most his passes are inch perfect. I can’t imagine us keeping on to him if we aren’t able to go up this season. Elsewhere, academy product Dan Neil has shone from centre midfield and obviously Ross Stewart needs no introduction having been touted for big things by opposition managers on multiple occasions. The attacking talent we have on show is great to watch at times. Now I’ve said that watch it be the first time we’ve gone without scoring at home this season!

10 – Many Thanks for taking part, all we need now is your match prediction?

Based on form I’d have to say you are the favourites for this one. Something, however, gives me belief that we can hang on and stop the rot. Alex Neil has made a quick impact wherever he’s gone so I think we’ll manage to put our first step in putting our season back on track. I’m going for quite a tense, scrappy 1-1 draw. Which is quite a contrast to what both teams are capable of. Thank you for asking me back to do this again! Wish you lot the best of luck for the rest of the season, just not too much come the last few weeks!

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