Cat­ter­mole a only Cats play

Sunderland Echo - - The Roar! -

The long-term sit­u­a­tion at Sun­der­land does not seem to be within any­one’s con­trol. No one is likely to take the club off El­lis Short’s hands un­til we know which divi­sion it will com­pete in next sea­son; and only those with the loud­est mouths “know ex­actly” what the owner should do.

Still, we may as well sus­pend our fret­ting over the myr­iad of off-field in­com­pe­tence for now. For those who en­joy a good fret, there’s plenty of on-field in­com­pe­tence to be go­ing on with.

The cliché about just con­cen­trat­ing on the next game is per­fectly true.

Tac­tics and se­lec­tion at SAFC are now con­sid­ered aca­demic by many. But even if this is cor­rect, it shouldn’t al­ter the ap­proach to the next game.

This hap­pens to be against Pre­ston, although the op­po­si­tion is not es­pe­cially con­cern­ing. Who cares who Sun­der­land play next? The re­sult is all that mat­ters.

What to do? Well they can start by not play­ing five at the back.

This was tried, yet again, against As­ton Villa. With 30 min­utes gone cen­tre-back Tyias Brown­ing was in­jured. This was bad news, although it did present the op­por­tu­nity to change things around.

Yet, even though Sun­der­land hadn’t man­aged a sin­gle shot at that point, Brown­ing was re­placed by Billy Jones with no change in for­ma­tion.

Play­ing some­one who hasn’t con­vinced even in his true po­si­tion of full-back was ap­par­ently prefer­able to dis­con­tin­u­ing the on­go­ing fail­ure of field­ing five de­fend­ers.

True, the for­ma­tion wasn’t used at QPR. But we can’t help but think that this was at­trib­ut­able to the avail­abil­ity of just two cen­tre-backs, rather than any pen­nies drop­ping.

Three cen­tre-backs should be avail­able against Pre­ston. So don’t be sur­prised if they make scor­ing even less likely by re­vert­ing to a back five.

In­ci­den­tally, the back four was not the prob­lem at Lof­tus Road. How­ever, ea­gle-eyed sup­port­ers may have no­ticed de­fi­cien­cies else­where on the pitch.

Fur­ther up the field, though not much fur­ther, was Lee Cat­ter­mole. Will he ever be dropped? If other mid­field­ers play badly, they’re out. Yet Cat­ter­mole’s se­lec­tion is ringfenced.

It does ap­pear he has been sub­jected to one in­jury too many. His forte now is stand­ing on the cen­tre line, turn­ing 180 de­grees and tap­ping the ball to a de­fender.

That’s about it. Although on Satur­day, by de­fend­ing like

Sun­der­land’s Lee Cat­ter­mole.

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