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Stephen Elliott: This is why ex-Celtic and Manchester City winger can be a star man for Sunderland

Saturday’s fixture against a team, who for a few reasons, have become a bit of a rival over the past few years in League One was a huge game for Sunderland boss Lee Johnson and his men.

By Stephen Elliott
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 4:52 pm

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Given the past three results for Sunderland in the league, there was added pressure going into the Pompey game at the Stadium of Light.

Portsmouth was never going to be an easy game – and with both promotion rivals Wigan and Rotherham registering wins again at the weekend, putting the three points on the board was all that mattered come tea time on Saturday.

Thankfully all three were earned deservedly and importantly the team stayed in and around the automatic slots.

Sunderland beat Portsmouth 1-0.

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New signing Danny Batth came straight into the team and I felt he added a bit of steel and experience to a defence that had looked very shaky in recent weeks.

He looked confident and it would seem that Sunderland have got a leader of men on the pitch in the former Stoke defender.

I know it’s only one game in but I think he is going to turn out to be a signing that certainly won’t be regretted.

He is big, strong and aggressive and I felt like he embraced the pressure of being a Sunderland player. He also has a big presence and that is something that Sunderland have lacked at times over recent years.

Having captained Wolves to promotion out of this division a few years back I think it’s a great coup for the club.

With Patrick Roberts following him through the door, I have to say I am pleased with the signings so far this January transfer window.

I think if Sunderland are going to sign players now then they have to be additions that not only make the squad stronger but also make the starting XI better.

Signing young players that can develop their game with the club is important but I don’t think we can get too far away from how important the present is and signing players who can make a difference now is vitally important.

These two lads certainly fit into that category and I hope that they won’t be the last couple through the door.

Roberts certainly should not flinch when putting on the red and white shirt as he already has a lot of experience playing in front of big demanding supporters at some of his previous clubs.

His time at Celtic will have prepared him really well for this club and I do think he will be an exciting player that will get supporters on the edge of their seats when watching him.

He has undoubted quality and with him signing an initial six-month contract it will be in his own interest that he hits the ground running at Sunderland.

If he does, then come the end of the season he will be in high demand whether that’s staying on at the Stadium of Light or having sold himself to other suitors.

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