Attacking Sunderland trio fail to shine plus five other things learned from Wycombe Wanderers draw

Chris Maguire.
Chris Maguire.
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Sunderland missed the chance to go top of League One at the Stadium of Light.

Here's what we learned from the 1-1 draw with Wycombe Wanderers.

Cats blow chance to go top but pass character test.

Sunderland had the chance to go top of League One for the first time but blew it, dropping two points at home to Wycombe Wanderers.

The Chairboys were well set-up and took the game to Sunderland, the Black Cats sloppy in possession and lacking sharpness.

It was a disappointing afternoon but Sunderland did, as Jack Ross rightly pointed out, show character to get a result when not playing well. There is no questioning the character and desire in this squad.

Chris Maguire.

Chris Maguire.

New deal a must.

Josh Maja continues to shine and surely he must start at Walsall.

The 19-year-old has 11 goals to his name now this season including 10 in League One, he is the first teenager to reach double figures in the top four divisions in England this season.

He only needs one chance, his finishing is clinical inside the area. There are areas to work on but Maja is a real talent and securing him on a new deal is absolutely key.

Summer signing now first name on team sheet.

Tom Flanagan has established himself as Sunderland’s No.1 defender.

Flanagan wasn’t due to play against Wycombe initially as he was away on international duty but thankfully Northern Ireland released him to play. Another example of the desire of this

squad to play for Sunderland. Composed and calm on the ball, Flanagan reads the game well and also helped start attacks during the first half.

Selection dilemmas for Jack Ross.

The draw aside, Sunderland remain on an excellent run of form and are well placed to win promotion at the first attempt.

Ross does, however, have a number of selection dilemmas to juggle.

Does he recall Josh Maja to the starting line-up in the league after his goals against Morecambe and Wycombe or persevere with Jerome Sinclair?

The centre of midfield too is an area to consider, to start Max Power who impressed, with Lee Cattermole also hopeful of returning this weekend.

Sunderland’s attacking trio endure off day.

Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire were well below their usual high standards, Aiden McGeady did pose a threat but his final ball was disappointing and it let Wycombe off the hook too many times.

Given their form in recent weeks they can be excused one off day.

A rare week without a midweek fixture will benefit Sunderland.

The fixture list this season is relentless, with Checkatrade Trophy games adding to the mix.

Sunderland don’t have a midweek fixture this week, they return to action against Walsall in the league on Saturday. That is followed by consecutive Saturday-Tuesday weeks again.

A tough schedule and not having a game this week will be a big help, a chance to re-energise before targeting another winning run.