Loaned-out defender impresses as Billy Jones shoe-horn shafts Sunderland; 5 morning-after thoughts

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So Sunderland slumped to another defeat which continues the march into League One and this morning I'm woken up by a text from a mate saying he's tossed and turned and has decided he's not renewing his season ticket regardless of what division we're in next season. He won't be alone. Morning after thoughts following Sunderland 0 Ipswich 2....


The Seagulls of doom are circling

When a flock of seagulls circling the South Stand proves a rare respite from the gloom, you know it's been another dire afternoon at the Stadium of Light. There's probably some old Wearside parable - knowing Sunderland AFC's forsaken luck - that a congregation of cawing seabirds on the 3rd day of February is a dreadful portent of doom meaning the end is near. 

Along the road, they howl at the moon at St James Park, but such was the monotony of another bad day at the SoL office, a section of the Sunderland support launched a chorus at the bemused flock of big white birds who occasionally fly a few hundred yards inland to get their footie fix.  

But much more of this and the famous old club which stands on the banks of the Wear will disappear into League One and be condemned to oblivion. The future of SAFC remains a concern - and another miserable transfer window confirms it - but right now Sunderland are all about the short term and finding a way out of this latest mess. 

Shoe-horning Billy Jones in as centre-back is the stuff of nightmares 

Chris Coleman can be forgiven for having tossed and turned himself last night with 'why did I do it' running through his mind at the defensive mess he selected. 

With Lamine Kone and Jake Clarke-Salter absent, the Black Cats boss turned to right-back Billy Jones to deputise in order that he could continue with his preferred three centre-back system. And it was a disaster. 

Some say Coleman was eager to add two central defenders to the squad during the transfer window but Sunderland had dreadful difficulty getting deals over the line and only managed one. But Jones will not be the answer as he proved by handing Ipswich their first goal of the afternoon. 

Before the game, Mick McCarthy had suggested turning Sunderland around will be like steering an oil tanker with a paddle; and Jones displayed all the finesse of said vessel as striker Joe Garner turned him all too easily to bag Ipswich's first. 

A make-shift defensive system which relies on communication, drilling and preparation was a disaster in front of a new goalkeeper, signed late on Wednesday night, who hadn't played a game of first team football since 2016. 

Tom Beadling then anyone? Oh, he's not here

Tom Beadling was sent to Dunfermline on loan during January and is likely to be released at the end of his contract - which expires in the summer. The 22-year-old central defender has been in the Sunderland academy system since he was a wee boy but has rarely troubled the first team. 

Naturally, as Billy Jones was pretending to be a centre-back on Wearside - and failing miserably - Beadling was scoring a debut goal 150 miles to the north and putting in a thoroughly decent performance for Allan Johnston's Scottish Championship side. 

Ovie Ejaria an upgrade on Ndong but will need to get up to Championship speed

Ovie Ejaria could potentially be the pick of Sunderland's January signings and the Liverpool loanee looked alright for a decent chunk of the game before fading as the usual Saturday afternoon story played out at the Stadium of Light. 

The 20-year-old has been a regular in the Liverpool U23s but will need a few weeks to get up to Championship speed. Not that Sunderland have time to spare, and ordinarily the club's seasoned pro's would be expected to coax youngsters along. Sadly, in Ejaria's case he was saddled with the knackered Lee Cattermole alongside him for his debut. 

Now what?
 
Chris Coleman suggested after the game that things will get better for Sunderland, despite the absolute opposite seemingly being the case. 

February looks a mixed bag with a trip to top-six Bristol City up next followed by what would ordinarily be classed as 'winnable' games at home against Brentford and away to Bolton before Middlesbrough visit the Stadium of Light at the end of the month. 

We've entered the 'hope' period of the season now and all we can do is pray Coleman manages to get a tune out of his new signings and slowly addresses the mental fragility coursing through the rest. 



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