Sunderland v Portsmouth. Was a top vs bottom clash. Now looks an awful lot more nervy an encounter …
After an appalling run on the road, Sunderland have managed to turn what should have been a routine staging post on our cruise up the table into a crucial must-win sort of game.
And what happens? Pompey fans are salivating at the prospect of three away points they think are theirs for the taking as they look to their players to exploit our deepening injury and suspension crisis.
If we could get a few ex-SAFC forty and fiftysomething defenders registered in time, they’d stand good chances of starting tomorrow’s game. Steve Bruce may no longer fancy it but Pete Sixsmith and I will be contenders to get on the pitch if it gets much worse; we’d offer weight and height if not too much mobility.
No Bardsley. No Cattermole. No Ferdinand or Zenden. Mensah ruled out now. McCartney only 50-50. Richardson suspended again too.
Bookings and injuries happen. But if stupidly conceded yellow cards have caused absences that come to be seen as costing us points over the coming four or five days, maybe Bruce should dish out some hefty fines.
Anyone else got any bright ideas? We could always get Lorik Cana to impose a bit of discipline on the more wayward of his teammates. As the club captain and intellectual, he could made an unnecessary card punishable by whole afternoons and evenings of cultural pursuits, leading miscreants on guided tours of Durham Cathedral or walking stretches of Hadrian’s Wall or giving them conversational classes in French, Albanian and German (English optional).
On the odd occasion when it’s Lorik who has fallen foul of a referee’s decision, the appropriate penalty for him might be to be locked in a padded cell for a few hours with nothing to while away the time other than the Daily Star, a CD of X Factor performances and a selection of video games, age group 10-12.
We’re just joking, lads. You – the Lads – just get out there tomorrow and win to ease our unexpected concerns.