Rowell Report: Opportunity knocks for Sunderland in a busy festive season

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell

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IT seems incredible after just finishing another two-week international break that Sunderland should now be facing a December with seven games in it – that’s just about a game every four days!

It is a month which is always a high intensity one in football with the Christmas period and the New Year and FA Cup to follow.

But it has been made particularly busy for Sunderland by their progress in the Capital One Cup to the quarter-finals, which sees them taking on the extra fixture of Chelsea at the Stadium of Light mid-month.

That’s an extra game that Sunderland and their fans won’t complain about but the fact remains that this could be a defining month for the club with so many fixtures to get through in such quick succession.

It will test Sunderland’s squad to the limit.

Gus Poyet told the Echo today that his ideal squad would be 23-24 outfield players with three goalkeepers on top, and I would agree with him on that.

I also agree with him that Sunderland’s current squad is too big at the moment.

But what he might find is that for December at least, that might just prove to be to the club’s advantage because to get through December successfully, he is going to have to get the maximum out of his squad.

What I hope is that it throws up opportunities which players seize with both hands.

Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena are two players for example who have to try to emulate Phil Bardsley in coming in from the cold.

But there are plenty of players we haven’t seen enough of – the likes of Cabral, Modibo Diakite, David Moberg Karlsson and El-Hadji Ba – and I’m sure they will be desperate to show what they can do for the club this month.