Collison, who played under Allardyce at West Ham, said: “I think that [sorting the defence out] is the key. It’s important to have a foundation to build from, and knowing Big Sam like I do, he’s very keen to get his defence functioning well and working together. That will be high on his priority list, to get the defence sorted.”
Allardyce is renowned for his work as a defensive coach, with results targeted ahead of good football, but even the 60-year-old has his work cut out with the Black Cats.
The Wearside club currently sit second bottom of the Premier League table, with five losses and no wins from eight games, and they have conceded the most goals in the division - 18.
Former head coach Dick Advocaat could not seem to find any sort of consistency amongst his back-line, and Allardyce will have to approach this priority job in a focused manner.
He needs to decide upon his best back four, and stick with them to build up team chemistry, confidence, and some identity to their play.
Allardyce has a fantastic reputation as a manager to get a team out of a relegation scrap, and he has certainly proven in his career that he knows how to organise a side to make them effective at winning games, even if this comes at the absence of enjoyment.
Sunderland fans should expect to see some truly defensive football over the coming weeks, but even if it is poor to watch, the faith will remain in Allardyce as focuses upon improving the back-line at the Stadium of Light, with every point now valuable for the Black Cats.