It is no coincidence that Sunderland produced their most impressive, creative, forceful performance of the season with Max Power at the heart of the midfield.
The Birkenhead-born 26-year-old was left out of the Black Cats’ opening League One fixtures, two déjà vu-inducing stalemates against Oxford and Ipswich Town, but his impact against Accrington in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night simply cannot be ignored.
Power controlled the game at Crown Ground, suffocating Accrington with his excellent passing range and setting up Marc McNulty’s first goal in Sunderland colours.
Surely the former Wigan Athletic enforcer, who arrived on Wearside in August 2018, is a shoo-in to start against Portsmouth on Saturday now.
Well, the Black Cats faithful seem to think so with the majority hoping to see Power included in a midfield alongside newcomer George Dobson. The technical if frequently ineffective Dylan McGeouch, it seems, would be dropped to the bench if the locals had their say.
The increasingly under-fire Ross has baffled supporters with his tactics in recent months, notably his preference for a 3-5-2 system which never suited the players at his disposal. But the former St Mirren boss can silence the doubters for an hour at least by including Power on his team-sheet at 2:00pm on Saturday.
It’s the midfield 2 that is the key, atm it has to be Power & Dobson for their mobility. we saw against Coventry how much we can be torn apart when an immobile midfielder (Leadbitter, McGeouch etc) plays which was why in 4231 Honeyman was important cause he could help— SAFC DAVID (@DavidHindmarsh7) August 14, 2019
My team to play Portsmouth #SAFC— darksidemackem (@darksidemackem) August 14, 2019
McLaughlin (doubt it but a new left back)
Right Mr Ross, learn from tonight - have to play 4 at back v Portsmouth, leave Flanagan in Seaburn and put Ozturk in at CB, Maguire and Power must come into midfield and, oh, send Grigg to Seaburn to keep Flanagan company. Positive display for once, gd to see #safc— Kevin Moeliker (@Kevsol) August 14, 2019
Like it. But I don't think Mcgeady should be tied to the left wing. Play Power, Dobson and Maguire as a midfield 3 and let Mcgeady roam and do damage all over the park.— Hummy (@eathummous1) August 14, 2019
4-4-2. Defence obvious. two CM got to be Dobson and power for creativity. mcnulty and big Turk heed wyke up front #staff— Jude Rain (@judderain) August 14, 2019
Have something to tell us about this article?