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Sunderland look set to live life through a Lens

Just over a week to go and our performance this week may well have fans thinking are we too weak to go the distance this season?

This was the game where we were expected to show just how well the hard work in the US and Canada had paid off. You hoped that we would get some idea of how Dick Advocaat would set up the team, especially after he had said our first two friendly reverses against lowly opposition in California were about getting in shape both physically and tactically.

Admittedly we were unlucky as their keeper made some fine saves and the second goal was “set up” by Jack Rodwell’s clearance hitting the back of a Doncaster player and falling to the feet of a striker who had a simple job to fire the ball home.

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The biggest plus by far was Jermain Lens. He looked skilful quick and with an eye for goal and he could well be a star in the making.

However, as fans we can well remember other stunning debuts which have seen players we thought would be world beaters quickly find a consistent level well below that of their first showing. Mine would be Stan Varga and the way he had Thierry Henry in his pocket in an opening day win against Arsenal at the SoL and sadly never hit those highs again in a red and white shirt.

The other issue is that as good as Lens looks to be he cannot be expected to carry the team alone this year.

If you asked the fans last year and during recent months all would have said we lacked creativity in midfield and despite the arrival of Jermaine Defoe we need something more up front.

It is a fact recognised publicly by Advocaat, but we are paying the price of the past three years where our previous coaches have in effect panic bought leaving us with players who are not of the quality we need on significant wages which leave them unwilling to trade a seat in the stands at the SoL for playing time in what may well be lower leagues due to the disparity in wages offered. It also means that any acquisitions without cutting the current wage bill would breach financial fair play rules.

We have to hope that the next month will see some movement but until such time it will be down to Advocaat to wring whatever he can from the players at his disposal..

Looking at our opening run of fixtures it is a glass half full glass half empty situation.

On paper these are eminently winnable games but all admit we are by no means the finished team or squad. Therefore it might be good that we are not facing some of the league’s top six and playing teams that we have a chance of winning against even without the final pieces of Advocaat’s master plan.

However, the flip side is that certainly as fans we would have looked at the fixtures and pencilled in a decent haul of points from the games.

Being a Sunderland fans is never dull!!

Article by Jon Guy

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