For the first time in years I feel positive about football again. Lynden Gooch’s 96th-minute header last week has provided lift off to the new era at Sunderland, and it feels like more than three points, it feels like a real platform to kick on from.
Everything around the club was set up for us to win the game against Charlton, and to win it like that will mean more to the team than strolling to a 3-0 win – the lads showed they had the fight, they never gave up, ground down Charlton and ultimately got the win they deserved.
It was important to get off to a good start, something we rarely do, and Sunderland travel to Luton on a high, looking to make it two wins on the bounce.
Kenilworth Road, with its away end entrance set inside a row of terraced houses, provides the perfect League One welcome for the first away game of the season.
The Hatters have been tipped by many to have a strong campaign, having arrived from League Two with plenty of optimism – they are a club on the up again.
After an opening day defeat to Portsmouth, they will be looking to bounce back and are sure to be up for the game on Saturday. The manager, Nathan Jones, has done a good job for The Hatters and was linked with the Sunderland position over the summer – even the most optimistic fan probably isn’t predicting a repeat of the 5-0 win in 2007.
Losing Jerome Sinclair is a blow for Sunderland, after his impact from the bench against Charlton.
The change in formation by Jack Ross certainly helped Sunderland change the game, but Sinclair’s direct approach and evident quality was a big factor.
For the rest of the team, providing Bryan Oviedo remains a Sunderland player, he will most likely replace the injured Donald Love with Adam Matthews over on the right, or in the middle, depending on the system Ross deploys.
Alim Ozturk evidently struggled last week and looked way off the pace particularly in the first half and although there was an improvement after the interval, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a debut for Jack Baldwin alongside Glenn Loovens.
Gooch has the potential to be one of the best players in League One, and hopefully Josh Maja can kick on from his goal having missed a good chance in the first half.
We are still light up front in my opinion, even with Charlie Wyke to come back to fitness. Another centre forward certainly wouldn’t go amiss, especially with the long season and potential number of games ahead.
I’m looking forward to the game on Saturday, a new ground for me. If Sunderland pick up where they left off, I see no reason the travelling fans won’t be heading back up north with three more points in the bag.