RECAP: Chris Young answers your questions on McClaren, Byrne, transfers and Tyne-Wear derby

The Tyne-Wear derby is a week on Sunday at St James's Park

The Tyne-Wear derby is a week on Sunday at St James's Park

Sunderland reporter Chris Young has been taking part in a live question and answer session.

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It has been a busy week for the club with the signing of Emmanuel Eboue plus the ongoing search for a new chief executive after the resignation of Margaret Byrne in the wake of the Adam Johnson convictions.

Here are the highlights from our Q&A:

How will Steve McClaren's sacking at Newcastle United affect Sunderland's survival hopes?

CY: I wrote last weekend that a manager bounce effect at NUFC was a threat to Sunderland, particularly after failing to put wins on the board v Palace and Southampton.

It's why that last-minute equaliser at St Mary's was such a sickener.

If it is Benitez, he'll hope to follow SAFC's lead in winning the derby in his second game.

BUT he has no experience of a relegation battle. That could be a factor.

Do you think this is the best Sunderland team, fighting relegation, we've had in years?

CY: Judging by the performances over the last 6 games, I think you have to say so.

There's a clear strategy, lots of energy and work-rate. The January signings have made a HUGE difference.

That was the first successful window Sunderland have had in five years. The bitter irony then would be if this is the year that they go down.

How damaging will Southampton's injury-time equaliser prove to be, do you think?

CY: I haven't felt so downbeat after a Sunderland game in a long, long time, which is bizarre considering a point looked a decent result beforehand.

Allardyce was absolutely gutted. I just fear that might be a game which comes back to haunt Sunderland. However well they've played over the last six games, they've only won one of them.

Off the pitch this week, we have seen the resignation of former chief executive Margaret Byrne. What are your thoughts on that and what is the latest in terms of a replacement?

CY: I think it was inevitable that she would go.

The pressure was amounting and her admission that she didn't tell the rest of the board about the information she had been told about Johnson made her position untenable.

I'm told there'll be no rush for a new chief exec. Ellis Short is sounding people out and it is likely to take several weeks before there's a new one.

Can the club finally move on now? And do you think it has had any affect on the relegation fight?

CY: I don't think it's had any effect on the relegation fight at all. Performances tell you that.

I think all SAFC fans will hope that Byrne's resignation provides some closure to the whole episode, which has been a pretty unpalatable one.

Sunderland have a free weekend coming up with the Everton game postponed; does that matter ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby?

CY: Not really. But it's daft that SAFC play just one game in four weeks.

It'll have more of a knock-on effect on next month when Sunderland are having to play 3 times a week, particularly if Arsenal get through to the cup semi-finals and another PL game is postponed

How will both sides approach the Tyne-Wear derby?

CY: I think it'll inevitably be nerve-ridden given the state of both sides.

For SAFC, the first 20 minutes are going to be vital because the NUFC fans are going to be buoyant early on in the new manager's first game at the helm.

If SAFC can see that period through safely, then they've got a chance.

What do you make of the Emmanuel Eboue signing?

CY: Right-back is clearly a position that has concerned Allardyce after he looked a few options for that position in January.

Eboue has plenty of experience and organisational qualities, but the clear reservation is his chronic lack of recent match fitness.

He'll need several more non-competitive outings. But, he's also a buoyant character off the pitch, who is immediately a favourite with the rest of the players.

That helps amidst the tension of the relegation fight.

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