Q&A with Roker Report regarding Sunderland

Julian Finney

Ahead of Saturday's clash with the northeastern club, Simon Walsh of Roker Report, SB Nation's Sunderland blog, was gracious enough to answer our questions!

What has been the supporters' reaction to signing former Smoggy Danny Graham?

Well it's been a bit of a mixed bag to be honest, but I'd say those with an ounce of sense have reacted as they should - positively. There's been one or two vocal Neanderthals who can't get over the fact he's a boyhood Newcastle fan and still is to this day, but he's clearly not that bothered by it and I don't see why we should either.

All that aside, he's a great addition to the squad. We needed a striker, possibly even two, but we've brought in one with a good goalscoring record at a good price. I wish him well, and look forward to seeing him paired with Fletcher in attack.

Is he the solution to Sunderland's problems in attack, and do you think playing him and Stephen Fletcher at the same time will be effective?

I don't think they're going to be paired in the way many have suggested which is a straight up 4-4-2. It will be more of a continuation of the 4-2-3-1 formation with Fletcher dropping slightly deeper. It's something Martin O'Neill has already talked about a little bit in the press and something that works for me too.

Sessegnon in the hole hasn't quite panned out and he's been moved out wide in recent weeks. Not to great effect, but you can't afford to leave him out. This weekend could be the start of a new look for us, so I'm excited to see how it will workout.

Whether or not this is the ultimate solution for us I don't know, but it sounds promising to me. Both Graham and Fletcher have enjoyed good years of late and are both approaching their prime. It's little known but Graham actually scored more than Fletcher last season. In theory we've got two 10-15 goal strikers on the pitch, plus Johnson, Sessegnon and others chipping in.

Do you think we'll see Lee Cattermole on Saturday?

I doubt it. He's been injured for a while and having rushed him back once only to seem put out for even longer I doubt we'll be taking any risks this time around. The central midfield will likely be Alfred N'Diaye and either Seb Larsson or Jack Colback. Those two are pretty interchangeable.

What do you think will be the tactical key for Sunderland?

It sounds silly but we have to take our chances when they come. From what I've seen of Arsenal this season you'll invariably give away a few chances to the opposition at some stage in the game and we need to take advantage of that rather than be as profligate as we have recently.

That's not a particularly tactical key point I suppose, but it's the key to the game for us. Outside of that I suppose Danny Rose will have to shackle Theo Walcott and I'd back him to do it. We'll also have to pray for no mistakes from Titus Bramble, if he plays.

Do you have a prediction for how the match will go?

Looking over the recent history of our two at the Stadium of Light we're either going to get hammered or sneak something. Being "Mr Homer" I'm of course going for a 1-0 win for us.

Thanks again to Simon! Stay tuned for a link to our answers to Roker's questions about Arsenal!

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