Giovanni Trapattoni's tinkering could be of great benefit to us...
Morning all, there's no game today as you're fully aware by now, but we've still got some great stuff for you, and it starts with out latest column for The Durham Times.
Yes, we also have been kindly offered our own column to spout about Sunderland on a weekly basis, and we take full advantage of that. To read it, you can pick up a copy of The Durham Times on a Friday from any newsagents worth it's salt, get it delivered to your door, or read it online www.durhamtimes.com
Or if you're a right lazy bones, you can have a read of it on these pages, slightly delayed and most of the time slightly out of date. That's entirely your own fault I'm afraid. Correct your mistake next week and buy a copy of it, until then, here's what you missed out on this week...Before Sunderland made the long trip to Swansea last weekend, it is fair to say that most fans would have been happy to come away from the Liberty Stadium with a draw. However, this is football, and when your team leads twice, especially away from home, it is difficult not to be a little disappointed to snatch all three points.
It is also easy to forget though that the Swans had won their previous two encounters with a goal difference of +8, and that a point each isn't just what our performance deserved, but was also a reasonable achievement. Anyone disappointed can be easily forgiven, especially if they were caught up in the wave of optimism that the signings of Fletcher and Johnson washed over the club.
On the day it was Fletcher who stuck two fingers up at the corners of the football world that sniggered at his price tag, being in the right place at the right time for each of his two goals, one a composed finish following a defensive error, the other the result of excellent positioning from a dangerous free kick. If he keeps up this kind of form we can expect 38 goals in his first season with the club. I do of course jest, but it's as good a starting block as anyone could have hoped for.
And so now on to an international break, the period where fans of all teams wait impatiently for their team to return to action while praying that their favourite players are unharmed in the time away. Unfortunately for us, and Adam Johnson, that has already happened, and you can be sure that our club physiotherapist will be doing all that he can to have Johnson fighting fit for the return of the Premier League.
Arguably the most interesting of the international ties from a Sunderland perspective will be the Republic of Ireland match, where Giovanni Trapattoni wants to experiment with James McClean 'in the hole' behind a centre forward. Why 'Trap' doesn't want to use our star in his natural position on the left (he's already tried him on the right) is anyone's guess, but it should provide fascinating viewing for Sunderland fans.
With the most exciting attacking players on our books for many years, Martin O'Neill has already spoken of his desire to have his wingers swapping sides on the field, and if McClean proves himself to be capable through the middle, something which his goals in the red and white stripes suggest he may well be, then O'Neill would surely be purring at the thought of Jimmy, Sess and Johnson all switching position freely, causing opposition defences a whole world of problems.
It will certainly be something to keep an eye on, as will the performances of our other Irish stars, O'Shea, Westwood and Meyler. Let's just hope that they all return in one piece