It seems like only 5 minutes ago since we were all hit with the news that Keano was the man for the job, but its now two months that he’s been in the managers chair, and already its been a fair old rollercoaster of a journey.
With those two months up if there’s one thing that personally I think is really needed it’s a couple of breaks to go our way and arguably one or two of the players need to be given a break by our ever demanding supporters. In fact some of the supporters even need to give Keano himself a break as well believe it or not as at one or two games there have been cases of supporters shouting for Reid back in place of Keane or that Keane isn’t up to the job. Whether or not those supporters have discovered that light bulbs allow you to see in the dark is something I was unable to establish however as their heads were buried too deeply in the sand for me to get the question to them.
After playing Cardiff on Tuesday night we completed ten matches under the management of Keano. These ten matches have brought us a total of 16 points meaning that we’re averaging a total of 1.60 points per game under his stewardship. Using that ratio of points per games, if Keane had been in place at the start of the season we’d have gained 8 points from the first 5 games rather than the pitiful 3 points. That would’ve put us in 7th position in the table with a very healthy looking 24 points. Would there be as many complaints at present if we were in 7th position?
There have been disappointing results at Portman Road, Deepdale, Britannia Stadium and of course Keane’s first home defeat to Cardiff but all in all, it is fair to say that things are certainly headed in the right direction as we are slowly hauling ourselves up the table, yet despite this some supporters still seem to be unwilling to give the players the benefit of the doubt and its about time some people gave the players a break and got behind them rather than getting at them. Bear in mind that some of these lads are more than likely going to be replaced when time allows, and some of them probably know it, but we have to get the most from them for now and to do that they need supported (and yes, I am fully aware of the fact that a few of them are not fit to wear the shirt).
The other break that we need is with the injury situation (which partly ties in with why we have to use certain players still). The likes of Kavanagh and Connelly have been missing for a fair period of the Keano months, and then there’s also the likes of Cunningham, Caldwell, S. Elliott and Wright who have barely featured in the season to date. I would think its fair to say that those six players would be a welcome addition to almost every Championship squad so getting the points tally we have without those players is also a good achievement.
How many would be happy with a starting eleven of say: –
Ward, Wright, Nyatanga, Caldwell, Cunningham, Whitehead, Kavanagh, Yorke, Wallace, Connelly and Elliott.
Only one of that eleven was a Premiership regular for us last season and five of them were brought in by Keane himself despite the fact that he didn’t even have a full week before the transfer deadline.
Getting the breaks on the injury front and from the fans can only strengthen our cause this season. The season still has a long way to run, and the goal as a minimum must surely be the play offs, but automatic promotion cannot and should not be ruled out by anyone (I would say its fairly certain that Keane himself won’t be ruling it out) and with murmurings already starting of the potential transfer kitty available during the transfer window then this still could turn into one momentous season for our club and certainly could be the start of a bright new dawn at Sunderland AFC but a few breaks and a bit of patience are going to be needed.
The future’s bright and its looking red and white.