Signing a new left-back key and why Chris Maguire must start for Sunderland: Key lessons from Ipswich draw

Sunderland remain unbeaten in League One but their struggles at both ends of the pitch continue.

Sunday, 11th August 2019, 4:51 pm
Sunderland struggled at Portman Road.

The Black Cats again had to come from behind to salvage a point with Jack Ross and his players coming under fire from frustrated supporters.

Here's what we learned.

The worst 45 minutes of Ross' reign.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland were so bad, it was almost comical. The players seemingly not comfortable with the system, a string of misplaced passes and individual errors and worse, from some, a lack of effort.

It fell way below the standards these players should be reaching.

Ross was forced into changing his system just half an hour in. And then again at half-time. The Black Cats playing 3-4-2-1, 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 in less than an hour.

It was a shambles. Ipswich should have been out of sight. In the end, it turned out to be a reasonable point for Sunderland.

But there can be no repeat of that opening 45 minutes.

Chris Maguire has to start.

The forward can frustrate at times but he has to start. He helped change the course of the game when he came on.

He linked up well with strike partner Marc McNulty, Will Grigg having been dropped to the bench one game into the season given his ongoing struggles in front of goal.

Maguire and McNulty both like to wind-up the opposition, the pair constant pests and Lynden Gooch's equaliser came as a result of tireless work from the on-loan Reading striker.

Ross has heavily hinted he will make changes to the side and while Sunderland are away to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday evening, the clear priority this week is Pompey at home on Saturday lunchtime.

Sunderland - and under-fire Jack Ross - in desperate need of a win in front of their home support.

Signing a new left-back a priority

Ross and the club's coaching staff have high hopes for Denver Hume but his confidence must be through the floor after being exposed in the opening two fixtures.

It is a huge problem for Ross, who has gone from three recognised left-backs to just one.

A new, experienced signing, in that area absolutely vital.