Posh have raced out of the League One blocks and after 10 matches are sitting second in the division behind Portsmouth. Now they face a true test against this seasons promotion favourites Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
A managerial merry-go-round, disastrous transfer market dealings and back to back relegations have seen Sunderland plummet down to the third tier. Ahead of Tuesdays clash we spoke to a Sunderland fan page @RokerReport to make sense of the mess and see how they plan to rise up from the ashes.
“Where do I begin? I think it’s been pretty well documented how badly managed we were right from the top when Ellis Short was here. You just need to look at the list of bad signings we made since we took over. £10m on Jack Rodwell, £12m on Steven Fletcher, Jozy Altidore for £6m etc – let alone the wages. The recruitment was just poor, and everything from top to bottom was rotten because the entire club was just totally mismanaged to the point he stopped caring.”
“The relegation from the Championship wasn’t that big of a surprise really, the feeling amongst the club and the fans was just awful when Ellis Short was here at the end. It wasn’t surprise to me.”
After such a fall from grace with two horrendous campaigns under David Moyes and then Chris Coleman how will Sunderland turn the tide and climb back up the football hierarchy similar to what Leicester City and Southampton have done rather than continue the decline as Portsmouth did a few years back?
“One step at a time. Let’s get out of this league first and see where we go from there. As it stands we are in this league on “merit” and we are just finding out what it’s like to enjoy football again.”
“Thinking about the Premier League actually depresses me in a weird way, it’s been nice to be able to compete in games and build some team spirit back. Don’t get me wrong though, this is a club that has the potential to compete in the Premier League but let’s get through this league first.”
Sunderland were firm favourites to get promoted at the first time of asking during pre season with fans relishing the prospect of travelling to new grounds and winning in new territories. But are the fans getting ahead of themselves and being too confident? Big clubs have struggled in League One (looking at you Sheffield Utd) and after 10 games things have proved tough. Have draws away at Luton and at home to Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town changed opinions on the league?
“Nobody supporting Sunderland believes any league or game is “easy” – we don’t have the chip on shoulder you think we have.”
“We’re not Newcastle – we don’t have an inflated opinion of what we are or where we are at – it’s quite the opposite. What I think you will find is that Sunderland fans are of the opinion a club the size of ours should be looking at winning this league, that’s not an opinion we should walk the league, it’s just fact – that should be our ambition and it’s realistic – you can’t have a club with the infrastructure of Sunderland AFC and just accept not getting promoted from this league. It’s just not ambitious enough for me.”
“We are building a good side and there’s still more to come from us. Lynden Gooch has been our talisman and of course Josh Maja has been free scoring – but forget those two because Chris Maguire is the man to look out for. When he plays well, Sunderland seem to play well and he’s been a breath of fresh air compared to some of the utter slugs that have drained this club for the past five or so years. I love him. Jack Baldwin has also been colossal at the back – but I’m sure you know a lot about Jackenbauer already.”
Turning attention to the boys in blue, who were knocked off top spot by Portsmouth after Saturdays draw to Blackpool at London Road, are we seen as title contenders by our rivals and how will the midweek clash pan out?
“Your boys have flew out of the traps and I think that’s because you have two very good centre forwards who know where the net is – that’s a huge benefit in any league, but I especially think in this league.”
“You had Jack Marriott last year, but I think Jason Cummings and Matt Godden, with Ivan Toney as back up is the best set of strikers in the league.”
“I live in Glasgow so watch more Scottish football than is healthy and I’ve wanted us to sign Jason Cummings for years. He’s an arrogant little so and so and 100% the kind of player I’d like us to have nabbed off Hibs before he went to Forest. Alas we signed James Vaughan instead…”
“Marcus Maddison is also one of the best players in this league and I’m shocked he wasn’t bought by a Championship club in pre-season. If you turn up in this one, it’s going to be our toughest game of the season – no doubt about it.”
“Aside from yourself, you have to look at Portsmouth who have had a similarly good start. Barnsley will be there or there abouts too and I think they have more to come from themselves.”
“We’ve only won one game in five, but we are pretty strong at home and you’re surely due a defeat – 3-1 Sunderland.”