Don't suppose they care; count them - few of Sunderland's squad at QPR will be here for League One

Chris Coleman may have insisted hewas pleased that Sunderland's players stuck at it at QPR but quit

by Brandon_Rawlin Sunday, 11 March 2018 09:39 AM Comments

Chris Coleman may have insisted hewas pleased that Sunderland's players stuck at it at QPR but quite frankly it'sincreasingly clear to see that none of them really give much of a toss that theircurrent employer will be relegated in a matter of weeks. 




Given a hero's welcome yesterday afternoon in WestLondon, Lee Camp was keen to return the adulation he received from the QPR fanscelebrating victory as Sunderland slumped to yet another defeat. 

Thumping hischest, blowing a kiss and taking care to applaud each Loftus Road stand inturn, all that was missing were roses raining down from the adoring homesupporters and the Rangers hero taking a bow in the centre circle and makingthe sign of a heart. 

Camp had just played 40 minutes in a Sunderlandshirt - a result which makes it almost certain the club he's currently representing will play their football in League One next season. Not that theusual miserable-looking sod looked overly bothered as he relived the 'glorydays' of over a decade ago, when he had helped QPR gain promotion from saiddivision into the Championship.    

No big deal really. It's not unusual for avisiting goalkeeper, returning to a venue at which he enjoyed some good times,to warmly interact with the opposition fans behind his nets, but that momentkinda summed up Sunderland's plight right now as the relegation run-inconcludes through March and April into May. 

Lee Camp probably doesn't much care which divisionthe Black Cats will be playing in next season. Aside from a relegation on thelatter section of his CV, why would he? He has no affinity to Sunderland,Wearside, the club, its fans, staff or people beyond a four-month loan stint one intended to get himself some first team football rather than sitting inthe stands watching his teammates at Cardiff. 

Relegation will have little long-term impact uponmost of the players in yesterday's squad. The majority will be sold, releasedor return to their parent clubs come the summer. For those lot, finallyescaping the mess at Sunderland will no doubt be a relief. 

Realistically, of yesterday's 18-man matchdayensemble, there's only about a third you can point to and suggest they'll stillbe here still next season. This direction of transfer policy is sure as hell a big factor behind the impending relegation.  


Who will be here next season and who will be gone?

Take a look, who really will be here to take the battle to League One and attempt to restore pride on Wearside?

Of the goalkeepers, Camp willreturn to Cardiff and perhaps look for a new permanent home in thesummer; 

Jason Steele could well be sold or loaned out. For onething, his supposed £15k a week wages will be an obstacle to him remaining inLeague One. 

Of the fullbacks who took to the pitchyesterday, Adam Matthews might be worth a few quid on the openmarket and Bryan Oviedo will be fresh from a World Cup andlooking to move on when he returns. 

Of the centre-backs, John O'Shea willeither retire or be announced as player manager should Chris Coleman departthough heaven only knows what will become of Lamine Kone; but fairto assume he'll be off. 

In midfield, Sunderland AFC desperately need tomove Lee Cattermole on this summer come what may. The stalwartoutstayed his welcome some time ago though you just know he'll still be lingering come August, whilst George Honeyman looks like taking his place as the new ever-present utility midfielder. Jonny Williams willreturn to Crystal Palace's treatment room and Ovie Ejaria willhead back to Merseyside. 

Joel Asoro is a talent upon which the Black Cats couldrebuild around but you just know he'll be cashed in as soon as a club higher upthe pyramid comes knocking. Ashley Fletcher will return toMiddlesbrough, chastened by his miserable experience at the Sunderland. 

Of yesterday's subs; Billy Jones isout of contract and will be gone, Aiden McGeady will surelyhave a Championship admirer who'll take him whilst Callum McManaman mightactually find his level in League One and turn out to be an asset nextseason. 

Finally, the academy graduates on the bench atLoftus Road - Josh MajaLynden Gooch and EthanRobson will surely prove to be the bedrock of the Sunderland squad inthe third tier. 

So is this the problem, or merely one of many?

And therein lies a significant portion ofSunderland's issues this season - a cohort of senior pro's comprising ahardcore of has-beens battered by year's of failure at the Stadium of Lightfleshed out with a good chunk of loanees and flops on short-termcontracts. 

Relegation to the Championship was supposed to bethe point at which SAFC swept a new broom through the dressing room, butneither of the managers who've been employed by the club this season haveeither been interested or had the nous to do so In fairness of course, clean sweeps do tend to require money to reinvest in order to enact them. 

Perhaps the shockwaves of a cataclysmic drop intoLeague One will belatedly achieve the much-needed revolution. It's sure as hell overdue.