The transfer window
After a phenomenal season in League One, it felt wrong changing the whole squad. Therefore it was decided that the majority of the players that contributed last season were to be given the chance in the Championship. We will also continue to fill the numbers with U23 players.
As always in football, no matter the policy, someone leaving and someone new arrives. Both Will Grigg and Corry Evans was released after the season, even if they are decent players they offer very little in the Championship and they are definitively over the top.
We spent our money wisely this summer and managed to strengthen the squad where it was needed. Missing from the overview is Albert Braut Tjåland and Fisay Dele-Bashiru. The latter we have high hopes for. Still young, with some experience from both Championship and League One.
We lost Kwame Poku to Norwich for decent money after a strong season but managed to replace him with Kwadwo Baah who looks even more promising. After the season started we landed on a hard decision that Luke O’Nien ain’t gonna cut it as starting right back, he’s a good squad player and offers cover in several positions. He’s the perfect player to have on the bench, so he will get games during the season. Felix Passlack and Daryl Dike are our two marquee signings. Passlack is easily the best player in the squad and for £2.9M I dare to call this deal a bargain. Daryl Dike comes in on loan with an optional fee of £5M if he shows to be a success.
Another drastic decision was to let Lee Burge leave. That makes Patterson the indisputable first choice and pushes Harrison Bond up as a backup. Bond is fair away from Championship level and Adam Richardson might be the better keeper already, but Richardson needs game time and Bond can take place on the bench.
This makes for the strongest XI at the moment, and it’s a huge testament to the academy that there are 4 graduates in the starting XI.
We hit the ground running this season and didn’t look affected by the early start to the season at all. Daryl Dike started the season with a hat-trick in his first game and do look quality.
It’s hard to ask for a better start to the season from a promoted team, and you know things are going great when you hear Roy Keane whistling on his way into the office.
We continued the great form after the international break, and it’s clear that the team has real quality. We do overachieve but on the other side, these are strong results. It shows that Sunderland again is a force to be reckoned with. At the same time, we all know how fast things can change in football and especially at Sunderland.
Fingers crossed that we can keep Anthony Elanga, Dan Neil and Alex Pritchard fit through the season, they are the heartbeat in this team and make everything thick. At times we play some fantastic attacking football and Elanga is a monster from the left in his inside forward role.
It’s phenomenal how good we are away from home! Beating those three with a combined 10-1 in goal difference is nothing less than pure class, and we cement our place as title contenders with that kind of results. Lost our first league game of the season at home in a bad match against Derby. Deserved win for Derby, and as far from “FM’ed” as you can come. No excuses for that one. Daryl Dike was on fire for another month and contributed hugly with his 6 goals. It will be a big loss if USA does well in the World Cup.
After the Forest game, both Patterson and Wright got injured. Patterson is out for two months and I now regret letting Lee Burge leave. Lucky for us it’s a few weeks off due to the World Cup, but Harrison Bond will have to step in for more games than I’m comfortable with either way. In retrospect, it was little to worry about and against Preston Harrison Bond introduced himself with an assist, clean sheet and man of the match in his first game in the Championship
Almond also scored three goals from corners in these two months, he’s starting to cement his place in the team and it will be tough for Wright to win back his place. Daryl Dike was back for the Hull game and of course, he scored. His loan deal ends 02/01/2022, and we don’t have the cash to make it permanent. Hopefully, we can extend it to the end of the season.
The kids made the most out of the game they got to play in November and it’s rewarding to see them get awards.
We have a hang on direct promotion at the end of the year. The January window will be important, and if Dike leaves we are in desperate need of a new striker. As you can see from player stats we’re dominating. Elanga is 4th on goals and is stating a point. We just have to enjoy it as longs it lasts, doubt he plays here next season as he’s now valued at £20M.
Can we make it to the Premier League after just one season?
Ha’way the lads!