Former Sunderland striker Marco Gabbiadini believes that Phil Parkinson needs to stick with his players despite their poor performance last week against Coventry.
The Black Cats lost 1-0 to the current league leaders with Coventry scoring the only goal of the game inside two minutes. Matt Godden slotted home his 13th goal of the season to send to Sky Blues to the summit.
Sunderland were not able to find a reply and were succumbed to yet another loss on the road, However, Gabbiadini believes that Parkinson shouldn’t make too many changes ahead of the Sky Bet League One clash with Gillingham tomorrow. He told the Sunderland AFC Podcast: “It’s always difficult in a situation like this because it’s easy from a far to say that we’ve got to make changes. Phil Parkinson has built a good team spirit there. There’s been some good results, some good comebacks and some good team performances.
“Managers are sometimes reluctant to make three or four changes as people start looking over their shoulders and there’s a bit more edginess with people worrying that they’re secure in their position. The other side of the coin is that we’re in a very delicate position in the season with 12 games to go, it’s very tight, it’s probably the closest I’ve seen the top of the table for many a year.”
Speaking on the game with Gillingham at the Stadium of Light tomorrow afternoon, Gabbiadini continued: “There’s a lot that can happen and I wonder whether Phil Parkinson will stick with the lads that have done well for him and see if they come back firing in all cylinders this week.”
Parkinson named an unchanged side against Coventry from the home draw with Fleetwood Town that suggests that Parkinson is willing to stick with his players. The squad have been resurgent since the turn of the year and have soared into a play-off spot.
Sunderland currently sit in fifth place in Sky Bet League One, four points behind Rotherham United who hold the second automatic promotion spot, and a win against the Gills would go a long way to closing that gap.
However, the Gills will cause Sunderland problems having just had a 15-game unbeaten run end with the defeat to AFC Wimbledon in that run. Steve Evans’ side have already beaten the Black Cats twice so far this campaign which will make Parkinson wary when it comes to his team selection
What Gabbiadini has said is fair, maybe one or two changes in the starting 11 for the game against Gillingham could inspire Sunderland to victory. Rotation is so key not only for the results and performances but also to keep players happy. Following the defeat to Coventry on Sunday, there would have been a few knocks on the door of Parkinson asking to be involved in the game tomorrow.
The side that has fielded the last two games have only managed to put a single point on the board. If Sunderland are looking to cement themselves in the promotion picture this season, they will need to start picking up more points. Bringing a player into the side that has something to prove could be a stroke of genius by the Sunderland boss if they want a maximum number of points to be added to their tally come 5pm tomorrow.