Whilst we are still revelling on our tremendous derby win – there is another football match to think about as Sunderland take on former gaffer Steve Bruce’s Hull City. Andy from the Tigers’ former fanzine and most established website Amber Nectar (@Amber__Nectar) kindly took the time answer a few questions on Sunderland, Bruce, their season and a match of huge importance for both clubs.
WAW: Sunderland have had a tough start to the season and certainly have not been short on talking points – how have you viewed the events on Wearside?
Andy: With a measure of bewilderment. Paulo Di Canio was never a long-term appointment, but the sort of sugar rush you needed to stay up last season. Fair enough, it worked. But then letting him loose in the transfer market then sacking him before the clocks go back suggests that not enough long-term thinking is being done at the very top.
WAW: Where do you expect us to finish this season?
Andy: It’s going to be difficult now. When a side who, on paper, should be easily good enough to stay up get into difficulties early on, they need to extricate themselves as quickly as possible, or they risk spending the whole season fighting relegation. That happened with Newcastle in 2008, which I expect you rather enjoyed (them going down kept us up, so we quite liked it too). A few quick wins will probably see you okay; however if you’re still in the relegation places at Christmas, that’d be a concern.
WAW: This match sees former Sunderland gaffer Steve Bruce take us on for the first time – how is he doing at Hull and are the fans happy with him?
Andy: Steve Bruce is unconditionally adored by City fans. It’s not just the automatic promotion in his first season and our current position of tenth (though they help!), but he’s an honest, plain-speaking guy who’s got us playing some great football. He seems to be enjoying himself again after the traumatic way things ended at Sunderland – gone is that haunted expression, in its place is a big beaming grin. We absolutely love him.
WAW: Is anything other than safety a realistic goal for the Tigers?
Andy: Probably not. I suppose it’s always possible we’ll have a favourable sequence of draws in the FA Cup and reach the latter stages, in which case who knows; or we may kick on and finish comfortably mid-table. Other recently promoted clubs have done, after all. But we’d have taken 17th in July, and we’d probably still take it now.
WAW: Who worries you most in the Sunderland squad and likewise who should we be wary of from Hull’s?
Andy: Steven Fletcher is a striker of some pedigree, and City will need to keep a very careful eye on him. It’d be nice to see Jozy Altidore come good as well. He spent a year with us, and was very raw but had some attributes and never let his head drop whatever was going on. For us, Sone Aluko is a player of serious quality, capable of unlocking any defence in an instant. He does have the occasional fitness issue (he may be out on Saturday), but when he’s at his best, he’s unplayable.
WAW: How do you expect the game to pan out and what is your prediction for the match?
Andy: We’ve lost the last two, though away to Everton and Spurs, and with mitigating circumstances in both. I do worry that 120 minutes in midweek, coupled with a morale-boosting win for Sunderland over Newcastle last week, aren’t ideal omens. A point would be quite welcome.
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