Sam Allardyce is beginning to make up his mind on which of Sunderland’s squad will form part of his future plans.
Allardyce has used 18 different players in his starting XI in just three games at the helm, as he strives to discover a combination which can lead Sunderland to Premier League survival.
After taking the reins from Dick Advocaat a month ago, Allardyce had initially relied upon backroom duo Paul Bracewell and Robbie Stockdale to fill in the blanks of his knowledge and give him the background information on the Sunderland squad.
But Allardyce is now forming his own opinions on the players he has inherited, with yesterday’s 6-2 drubbing at Everton providing the Sunderland boss with plenty of food for thought.
“I’ve seen some players more often than others, but I’m still making my mind up,” said Allardyce.
“Sooner or later, I’ll make my mind up and decide what’s good enough and what’s not.
“That’s my job to find out as quick as I can.
“Those who are going to fight and produce performances that you want, I’m going to stick with those.
“Those who don’t get up to that level, will struggle to get a game.”
Injuries to Fabio Borini, Ola Toivonen, John O’Shea and Younes Kaboul forced Allardyce into a reshuffle at Goodison Park after none of the quartet managed to shake off their problems in time to feature.
Sunderland were then dealt a further injury blow before half-time, when skipper Lee Cattermole limped off with a groin problem which has been plaguing the midfielder for several weeks.
With Sunderland facing just one more game before the two-week international break – this Saturday’s visit of Southampton – Allardyce is hoping that will provide a window of opportunity to get several of those key figures back in the fold.
“We can’t afford too many injuries in the position we’re in,” added Allardyce.
“It’s a bit of an ongoing problem with Cattermole.
“He hasn’t been training too much and we’ve been managing him through it.
“We’ve got to find a cure.
“Hopefully by the end of the international break, we’ll have completely recovered from the injuries and got John O’Shea and Younes Kaboul back.
“I don’t need to say that it looked like we missed them (at Everton).”