For no really good reason, except that it’s Friday and no one ever seems to write for these pages on Fridays, let’s give another well-deserved boost to the excellent lads and lasses of the SAFC Supporters’ Association branch in North America – SAFC NASA for short.
Just before we get onto transfer talk, the photo gallery is from Martin Bates, one of the Out West supporters who kept Salut! Sunderland in the loop during the pre-season tour.
Martin will be as alert as anyone to what transpires at Villa Park on Saturday, just as he is watching with the same interest as the rest of us the countdown to the transfer window deadline.
What still lies in store for us? Will we see those glaring defensive leaks plugged? Would doing that still leave room to strengthen midfield? Is it still reasonable to hope for a new attacker?
You can check out the rumours for yourselves. Sometimes, one report contradicts another, as in “this deal is off, no it’s not” and so on. Among the names most commonly floated are Jonathan de Guzman (midfielder), Ricardo van Rhijn (full back) and Ola Toivonen (striker/midfielder). But this is one of the few occasions when Monsieur Salut is happy to await official word from the club, preceded as it usually is by reliable snippets on Sky.
This, in my preview of Villa vs SAFc for ESPN FC, is how I summed up our most urgent needs in the time still available:
The acquisitions of Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Coates have done nothing to inspire confidence. The league table shows Sunderland’s defence to be the shakiest in the top flight, with eight goals conceded in three games.
John O’Shea’s return, after being sidelined for the first two Premier League games, raised modest hope of stability, but even he was culpable against lower-league opposition in midweek. In the final days of the transfer window, the glaring defensive frailties must be addressed even if Advocaat is forced to accept that he must make do with the attackers he has.
At least Defoe has shown he is sharp enough to worry defences. After two Premier League goals plus the three against Exeter, Sunderland fans will cheerfully overlook his eccentric approach to appointing a secretary. And Watmore is an undeniably bright if raw prospect.
As usual, you are positively encouraged to have your say. There have also been reports of Dick being so unhappy over the state of his squad that if investment has not been made by Tuesday’s closing of the window, he may well jump through it.
We’ll see. For now, if you live Out West and don’t already belong to SAFC NASA, your point of reference is its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/safcnasa
Ha’way the Lads.