Opposition view: Sunderland

By Ric Turner, Thu 07 November 2013 10:19

Opposition view: SunderlandSam Lightle from A Love Supreme gives us the lowdown on Sunday's oppponents

What are your expectations for this season?

Well, I suppose our only expectations after the start we’ve made can only be survival. Our summer dealings brought a lot of hope of what might happen this season, but unfortunately considering the start we’ve made the best we can hope for is survival. Which is a shame really because it feels like we aren’t developing at all, as every season we seem to be involved in a relegation scrap one way or another.

Are you happy with the manager?

Yes. I was shocked when Paolo Di Canio got sacked but I’m not going to dwell on that. Gus Poyet transformed Brighton from a relegation side in league one, to a team on the brink of Premiership promotion. He made them a feared team and a hard side to get points off. Obviously Sunderland are on a completely different level to that, but I think given time Poyet will come good – he just needs time!

Who are your key players?

I ‘d love to say Lee Cattermole (but he won’t be playing for obvious reasons). Even though he gets a lot of bad press for his tackles he gives our side a good balance which we lack without him. But in terms of players playing I’ll have to say Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher. Altidore is built like a tank and can hold anyone off, while Fletcher always has a goal in him (it’s just a shame he is made of glass).

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

No. Two good signings out of 12 first team players signed - it’s not exactly the best return is it? I’ve been impressed with Emanuele Giaccherini, however, under Poyet he has only played 45 minutes which has left many of us wondering why he has been left on the bench?

Jozy Altidore is another who has impressed since signing (mainly for the reasons I said in the last question) the only downside is that he has struggled to find the net. However, he has been unlucky because he has had a ‘perfectly good’ goal chalked off against Arsenal and he has also hit the bar and posts a couple of times.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

There are three that automatically spring to mind.

Firstly a striker called Mikael Mandron. He is a tall, strong player who scores bags of goals for the reserves. Kevin Ball our U21 coach highly rates him, and I think he could be a big player for us with after a few more years of experience under his belt.

David Moberg-Karlsson was a summer signing but is yet to have played a game in the league; despite looking a dangerous outfit in pre-season. He is a tricky winger that’s direct in his play plus he looks like he can score a goal or two (going by what he showed in pre-season showed).

Finally, Duncan Watmore another winger who also is a summer signing. He has been arguably the most impressive player out of the development squad this season (so far).  The lad can play out wide as well as a striker, and he is a well-built young man who looks more than capable of shrugging off a challenge. He works hard and looks like he has that bit of class that could separate him from the youth players that either make it or don’t.

Your Achilles heel?

It has to be our back-line who have conceded bags of goals every game. In the summer we needed to sign a fast centre half and a good left back – 14 players later we have neither. Their too slow and they switch off at vital moments.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

Yaya Toure “Unbelievable, what a name!” – Noel Gallagher. I’ve always been a big admirer of him as he is the complete midfielder in my eyes. I like how he does a solid defensive job but is very quick to get forward and support your attacking players. As well as that he has that bit of class that can win you games.

What is your perception of City as a club?

City or Citeh– a club at a similar level to Sunderland at one time but since the huge investment you’ve been catapulted among Europe’s elite. I like the history around the club and even though you have all the millions you still seem to be a club proud of your history 50+ years ago just as you are of winning the league a couple of years ago.

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

I’m a pessimist of a fan so I can’t see you beating us this time round. I think this could be a stroll in the park for you boys: Sunderland 0 v 2 Man City.

My SAFC XI – Westwood; Bardsley, Celustka, O’Shea, Brown; Johnson, Larsson, Colback, Gardner; Fletcher, Altidore.