Sunderland have certainly had an eventful couple of weeks with Jack Ross leaving the club and Phil Parkinson now in place.
They take on Wycombe Wanderers this weekend, in what is a clash between two sides near the top of the league.
As per usual, then, we spoke to Gary McLaughlin from We Are Wearside to preview things…
1. We saw Jack Ross leave during the international break, now the dust has fully settled was that a call you agreed with?
I think so. Ross deserves some credit for pulling the club back together, but looking back we’ve had big problems since February, where at the time we had a few games in hand which could have had us top.
He over-relied on Josh Maja who left for Bordeaux, failed to adequately replace him and that made all sorts of issues very apparent. We limped to a league finish of 5th and then handed Charlton the play off final. This season has shown no signs of improvement, he subsequently lost the support of the fans and in my lifetime I have not seen a manager recover from that position at Sunderland – not even Peter Reid.
2. In his place, Phil Parkinson – what do you make of that appointment?
A very logical choice. It’s not a very glamorous choice, and by that I mean it isn’t going to instantly instil confidence among supporters, but his record at this level stacks up alongside anyone else.
3. He’s got promotion-winning knowhow, of course, so can you see that happening this season?
I hope so, it’s not just about prestige but being stuck in League One for a prolonged period of time makes it financially more and more difficult. We still have a massive wage bill for this level, but Parkinson is going to have to do it despite the head start some of our rivals have had with our average start. He’s got enough quality in this squad to do it.
4. As for this weekend, a big game v Wycombe. What do you expect from them and isn’t it ironic that Gareth Ainsworth is in the home dugout for Parky’s first game?
Quite, it was touted as one or the other for the Sunderland job. I think Ainsworth sets his side up to have the best chance of winning, and our previous encounters with Wycombe have been very feisty affairs. I fully expect them to try and intimidate us, get very physical and keep the standard of football very low.
5. Score prediction?
New manager bounce please, and an unusual clean sheet. 0-2 to Sunderland.