Gary Rowell on the big challenge Sunderland's new manager will face against Wycombe
Sunderland head to Wycombe this Saturday hopefully with a new regime in place, but the players will by and large be the same ones that capitulated so badly at Lincoln.
Sunderland’s form on the road has become a real problem now, and by the time kick off comes on saturday, the players will have had two weeks to reflect on that unacceptable showing at Sincil Bank and what that led to.
That’s why I see this game as their biggest test of character so far. Their poor recent form has led to the dismissal of their old manager, so they need to pick themselves up and get their new one off to a flyer.
We’ll see what they’re made of at Wycombe, against a genuinely good team and the biggest challenge for whoever is in charge will be lifting the confidence of the players that we have all seen drop alarmingly.
So the new man’s motivational skills will be tested in the hour before kick off, but sometimes just a different voice with different ideas can stimulate a dressing room, especially in the early days.
New manager bounce they call it, but let’s hope we benefit and the players respond in a positive way, because I still think the Sunderland squad is as good and deep as any other in this division. They must show the mental strength to back that up.
Keeping a clean sheet is another thing that will be high up the list for the new manager, do that and we might get a few of those ugly 1-0 wins that every promoted team needs. You just can’t rely on scoring two or three every game to win, it won’t happen.
It’s another new era at Sunderland, but the players are the same, and they need to prove to the new boss they can cope and succeed under the pressure of playing for such a great club.