Opposition view: SpeakSAFC provides a Black Cats perspective ahead of Luton Town vs Sunderland
Luton Town welcome Sunderland to Kenilworth Road on Saturday afternoon and the Hatters will be looking to respond in a positive manner after Sunday's defeat at Watford.
ORH spoke to Speak Sunderland ahead of this weekend's clash...
How do you assess Sunderland's season so far?
Overall, pretty good all things considered. As a promoted side that finished 5th in League One, the main aim was always just to stay in this division by any means and so far we’ve looked more than capable of doing that. Over the course of 90 minutes, we haven’t looked out of place against any side and probably deserved more points than we’ve actually picked up. Injuries have hampered some of our results in recent weeks which was always going to happen but to be sitting mid table as it stands is solid enough right now.
We've seen a lot of recently promoted teams struggle during their first season back, how impressed have you been with how seamless the transition has been?
Very. It was always going to be a tough one to guess with so many of our players not tested at this level but every player has stepped up and matched the intensity and physical demands of the league almost instantly. Which is even more impressive when you consider the ages of our players, some of which are only playing their 2nd (or 1st!) season in professional football.
Started the campaign with Alex Neil and now Tony Mowbray is at the helm - Have you been impressed by the former Blackburn boss?
It’s a tough one. I haven’t been impressed but also haven’t been disappointed. He’s done an okay job with the resources at hand. Ie, no strikers and a further 4 first team players out injured. He’ll do a good job here for what is needed, there’s no doubt about it.
Seems like Sunderland have an abundance of creative talents - Who has stood out thus far?
Jack Clarke has been excellent so far this season whilst also considering he’s had to play in multiple different positions. I think people are starting to see what made Spurs pay £10m for him a few years ago. Ross Stewart took the league by storm before picking up an injury and I would still go as far as to say he’s the best striker in the league. His xG per game just backs that claim up.
What have you made of Luton's start to the campaign?
Luton have established themselves as a solid Championship side, which in all honesty, I never expected. I don’t think it’s too out of place to suggest that Luton don’t have too many ‘standout’ players but what they do have is an excellent squad of players that will work hard for the task in hand. A huge reason why the club managed to make it into the play offs in recent seasons. I have to be honest, I was routing for you to get promoted again! Anyone in the league will say Luton is a tough place to go and get a result.
No strikers, still so many key players out injured, it’s going to be a tough one and I can see it ending in a draw. A 2-2 draw to be precise. Not sure if Luton have any ex Sunderland players currently, but if they do, my money is on them to score first.