Pundit calls Joey Barton a 'poor man's Roy Keane', Ipswich eye Sunderland style recruitment system, Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady mentioned by rival boss

Sunderland face Oxford United in League One at the Stadium of Light tomorrow afternoon.

By James Copley
Thursday, 1st April 2021, 11:46 am

Lee Johnson’s side enjoyed a superb March as the Wearsiders won at Wembley for the first time in 48-years and went seven games unbeaten.

But what will April hold?

The Black Cats have just 10 games left to play with automatic promotion in their own hands.

Roy Keane.

Here, though, we take you through all of the latest transfer talk and news from across the division:

Danny Mills takes Roy Keane-related swipe at Joey Barton

Danny Mills has fired a shot at Joey Barton – and has compared him to ex-Sunderland boss Roy Keane.

Mills said to the Undr The Cosh podcast: “Joey’s like a poor man’s Roy Keane. When you look at Keane, there’s a switch that goes and then that’s it, there’s no coming back from it, Joey’s exactly the same.

“There’s no remorse, no sorrowfulness, or ‘I shouldn’t have done that’, it’s ‘deserved it’. No Joey, you can’t just go and beat people up.”

League One rivals Ipswich Town plotting recruitment overhaul

Ipswich Town are to implement a new data and statistics-led approach to their recruitment process.

The move sounds similar to the operation currently being implemented at Sunderland by sporting director Kristjaan Speakman.

The plans at Protman Road are said to be starting this coming summer.

Paul Cook is considering wholesale changes his squad ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

But Cook will be aided by a new transfer strategy, with the aim of adding a creative element to the recruitment set-up.

Ipswich's general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill told the club's website: “We are investing more into the recruitment area of the club because it’s clearly a vital component of any football club.

“We have looked at what clubs like Leicester and Brentford have done for a few years and Rangers over the last year or so as well, with some of the Liverpool staff going up there.

“A lot of the bigger clubs are using data and statistics as a big part of their recruitment. The days of just going off someone’s opinion are going. It’s about identifying a player and breaking down the analysis to find out how you get the best out of that player and whether he will fit into the way you want to play.

“We will be doing a lot more profiling on players than we have ever done before.

“It will mean a lot of investment into the recruitment area of the club for sure. We were going to implement the new structure before this season started but Covid put everything on hold. We are moving forward now though.

“The manager will obviously be part of the recruitment process and improving our goals return at the top end of the pitch is clearly going to be a key area for us.

“That’s not just about the strikers. If you look at James Norwood’s stats, he’s right up there in terms of around the 18-yard box.

“But when you look at Charlie Wyke at Sunderland, he’s got 25 goals or so but he’s had Aiden McGeady playing behind him with 12 assists. That’s what we’ve been missing and finding that creative element will be one of our big priorities.”

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