Will Some Faces From Sunderland’s Recent Past Ruin The Season Opener?

Gary Foster looks ahead to Sunderland's League One opener at home to Wigan Athletic, where some familiar names will be lining up for the opposition

I’M struggling to remember ever getting to the start of the season feeling so flat.

There have been too many to count where I have ended up feeling that way, but start is usually a time for a renewed sense of optimism.

Maybe the older I get the less of a hopeful spark I have or maybe I’m just sick to the back teeth of my football club being a basket case.

I’m used to being wrong. I’ve been married twice, so being told I’m incorrect has long since ceased to be a big deal.

And I do genuinely hope that I’m wrong when it comes to the lads this season, but for me we look to be going into the current season terribly undercooked.

Like I say, I’m hoping to be proved wrong and would happy for that to be the case. What I’m not happy about is being told by others how to support my club.

You won’t find me having a pop at anyone thinking everything is awesome, everyone is entitled to their own view.

What they are not entitled to, is to tell me or others to go support another club or how we should feel.

And so, we find ourselves at the start of another brave new dawn, they seem to come around at Sunderland more than any other club, but always seem to promise so much before fizzling out and delivering sweet FA.

Let’s this new start actually lives up to the billing and the data-led approach has a positive impact.

Despite my advancing years, I’m not a total dinosaur and realise that football has moved on from finding a decent full-back and signing them because you need one.

It’s all about the stats, about finding the right fit, finding a player that has a future a value at least that’s what we’ve been told (using far more words than that and some fancy ones).

That was what they said wasn’t it? Identifying players who have a future value or something along those lines, but a long-winded version.

So far we’ve signed a couple of players with poor injury records in recent years, who are in the twilight of their careers and borrowed a youngster from the Premier League champions.

Unless I’m missing something that’s not the data-led valued added kind of signings they kept going on about.

Of course, there’s still time left in the current transfer window so maybe the data lads are on their way at some point.

But as we head into our first game of the new League One season we, in my opinion, look very threadbare and only an injury or two away from real problems (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that).

The visit of The Latics this weekend looks likely to see the return of some very familiar faces with Charlie Wyke, Max Power and Jordan Jones all set to be part of the visitors’ squad.

I’ve seen plenty of people saying not being able to call on those three is no great hardship. I can see their point to be honest, but that only works if you bring in better replacements and we are still waiting to see if that is the case.

Here’s hoping they don’t come back to bite us on the arse and play a key role in taking away all three points.

As previously stated, I so want to be wrong, but I do worry we are going to be caught on the hop and could well find ourselves playing catch-up.

Fingers crossed my prediction is wider of the mark than Clive Walker’s Milk Cup Final penalty and we manage to carve out a win. Ha’way the lads.

Gary Foster