Jones confident Sunderland’s new formation can work

Billy Jones in action for Sunderland against Fulham.
Billy Jones in action for Sunderland against Fulham.
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BILLY JONES believes 3-5-2 is a system which can pay off for Sunderland – if Gus Poyet opts to persist with his fresh approach.

Poyet must decide whether to stick or twist with three at the back for Sunderland’s crunch meeting against Burnley this weekend after two games playing a new formation to accommodate January signing Jermain Defoe in the starting XI.

There have been some encouraging signs from the early days of the system, yet Sunderland’s lack of creativity remained the obvious deficiency in last weekend’s FA Cup stalemate against Fulham.

However, Jones and fellow full-back Patrick van Aanholt have been two of the positives over the last two games, despite the duo being thrust into unfamiliar wing-back roles.

Jones told the Echo: “I think I played wing-back maybe once away at Man City away, maybe two years ago.

“But if it’s a system you can master, you can really do well playing that formation.

“That’s down to the gaffer and the coaching staff to analyse these last two games and see whether it’s worth sticking with this system to progress as a team.

“We know we’ve got a lot of hard games coming up, and big games coming up which we need to get results from.

“We’ve obviously had two games now trying out the new system and we’ve created chances.

“At times, maybe, we’ve looked a bit vulnerable on the break, but that’s down to the gaffer and the coaching staff to decide what they feel is best for the group of players they have on their hands.”

Jones is glad to have been restored to the starting XI over the last two games after a couple of matches on the sidelines, following his return to action from a hamstring injury.

“On a personal level, it’s great to be back involved and making a difference,” said the Bosman summer signing.

“When you’re in the team, it’s your shirt to lose.

“If you don’t perform individually or collectively, your position is up for grabs.

“I’m enjoying playing, feeling stronger and hopefully I can keep improving.”

Only goal difference separates Sunderland from Burnley, with both sides lying a precarious solitary point above the relegation zone.

Poyet has called for patience from Sunderland supporters against the Clarets, despite the Black Cats registering a meagre one league victory at the Stadium of Light this season.

But Jones can understand the frustration of fans and is hoping for a white-atmosphere for the first of three successive home games against sides in the bottom reaches of the table.

“We obviously need the fans behind us because we’ve got some massive home games coming up,” added the 27-year-old.

“They really do help when they’re right behind us.

“Obviously we wanted to win on Saturday to get them bouncing for next weekend.

“But we feel their frustration. We want to win as well.

“Hopefully, come Burnley next weekend, they can get behind us and make the difference.”