UNTIL they can accept a bigger proportion of the goal-scoring chances which they are able to create, Sunderland will continue to lay themselves open to the charge that they are badly equipped to claim a place in the Football League’s toughest promotion race.
Whatever problems there may be over defensive coverage they do not rate alongside the need to promote a bigger influx of goals to claim profit for the club’s avowed policy of positive attacking football.
It is less than two years since an unwelcome club record was created by going six games without scoring. And no one needs reminding that since there has been no outlay on players to leave Sunderland as the only North-East club which has made no attempt to invest in success.
Manager Alan Brown has been required to build with home-developed talent and if the time element could be set aside, then the verdict must be that he is making excellent progress. The production lines have already filled key positions in the team and there is a wave of talent coming along which promises more exciting progress still.
But time is not on their side. With attendances at their present level losses mount weekly at a substantial rate and the overall position, bad enough when presented to the annual meeting of share-holders seven weeks ago, is becoming progressively worse.
There is no indication of progress towards the development which club chairman Mr Keith Collings referred at the annual meeting of finance becoming available to allow for team building. In the absence of such progress, the long, slow haul towards improvement will continue and the hard core of supporters who still make Roker Park their Saturday attraction will go on hoping for miracles.
Following up a home defeat against Luton Town, in which they made enough chances to win a dozen matches. Sunderland will be seeking the cure in an extremely tough match when they visit Queen’s Park Rangers on Saturday.
Rangers have dropped a couple of points in home games so far, but over the years they have a reputation for giving little away at Ellerslie Road and Sunderland will surely find it hard going there.
The formation in which Sunderland will be tackling this game is unlikely to show change, particularly in attack, where their regular line-up is the best available to them.
But there could be changes affecting midfield and defence, with the return to full training of Mick McGiven and Joe Bolton, who were first choice for their positions when the season opened, but had to stand down through injury.
Bolton has already had a couple of games in the minor sides, but this will be McGiven’s first week’s training since he was injured against Huddersfield Town and then against Middlesbrough Reserves in a North Midlands League game.
Bolton is already completely fit and there is a good chance that McGiven will be available too.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on October 17 1972.