Gary Rowell: New Sunderland signings can lift standards throughout the squad

Callum McManaman.
Callum McManaman.

With two home games coming up now, against Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest, surely Sunderland will record their first home win since before last Christmas.

I’d like two wins of course, and if we can beat Sheffield United then it takes all the pressure off and makes the Forest game that bit easier. So after a two week break and with new players in, Simon Grayson will want to throw everything at the Blades to get a precious three points which if it happens, could be a catalyst for the rest of the season.

Both teams have made better starts to the season than Sunderland, they’re both in play-off spots, so the Black Cats can’t be complacent as neither game will be easy.

Just like most of our fans, I’ll go to Saturday’s game looking forward to seeing the new signings, and hopefully they’ll all settle in quickly and make a good impression, but nothing will excite the supporters and get them out of their seats more than simply seeing their team win. To do that the players have to get that defeat at Barnsley out of their system.

No one will accept the way they collapsed after going a goal down at Oakwell so they must show far more resilience and resolve and prove Barnsley was just a one off.

With three new faces in the dressing room, who will all expect to start, it will heat up competition for places which will make training interesting as no one will want to lose their place in the team. That can only work in Simon Grayson’s favour. There’s nothing like the fear of being dropped to sharpen a player’s commitment in training and get them out of any comfort zone. It should raise the standards of all the players.

The lack of goals and failure to bring in a striker is a worry, we haven’t scored in the last two games so I’m hoping Callum McManaman and Jonny Williams can bring much needed improvement in the final third. With two consecutive games at the Stadium of Light, its up to the players now to deliver and make home form count.