Brown Back In Town

Although pretty much all incoming transfers are interesting – which has made this a particularly interesting close season, of course – I must say that I haven’t got a clue whether Valentin Roberge or Modibo Diakite are any good at all. I would hope that they are better than the men they replaced (Matt Kilgallon and Titus Bramble), without the baggage, and probably cheaper too... [More]

Stuck In The Middle With Seb

With Charis Mavrias soon expected to join Adam Johnson and David Moberg-Karlsson in Paolo Di Canio's options on the right flank, it is fairly apparent to all of us that Sebastian Larsson is no longer seen as a right midfielder by the manager. His pace is not what it used to be and without that trait, he doesn't really seem to fit into Di Canio's sharp, quick attacking strategy. The manager prefers the idea of having inverted wingers – hence Adam Johnson being seen as a right-sided player with his deadly left foot – and Larsson’s style of play would not be suited to being deployed on either wing as long as this game plan is kept intact. [More]

And I-E-I

Just six months after arriving on Wearside, Alfie N’Diaye is seemingly set to move back to Turkey as Süper Lig’s Eskişehirspor close in on the central midfielder. Paolo Di Canio was spoilt for choice last season in centre midfield, albeit a choice between particularly average performing players. [More]

Jack Comeback

With Jack Colback rejecting a new contract and seemingly seeking an exit, just how important is he in Paolo Di Canio’s squad? Colback is currently the longest serving player at Sunderland, and when you factor in his youth career – that’s thirteen years he has been here. Canny stint. His development over that time has always been admirable if not spectacular. Until the 2011-12 season his contribution to the first team was sporadical but since then he has commanded a regular place in the side achieving nearly 60 starts over the last two campaigns. That would be appearances pretty much everywhere on the pitch, having nearly as many elsewhere as in his favoured central midfield position. [More]

Mannone Versus Westwood

I really like lower league football. Not that I would want to see us play it again, of course – despite the memories of one strangely enjoyable 1987-88 season in Division 3. I go and watch it in the flesh when I can though I travel a lot with work. Taking in real football at somewhere like Macclesfield... [More]