Sunderland’s turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular.
To say the tide has turned would be an understatement.
Sunderland’s 1-1 draw with Fleetwood on Tuesday night was testament to the incredible fitness levels the Mackems have instilled in the team since Nick Allamby arrived as Physical Performance coach.
The Black Cats have had a habit for scoring late in matches and Max Power’s 97th-minute equaliser was symbolic of a side with renewed commitment and work rate. Since January 1st, Sunderland have scored six goals in the final 15 minutes of play.
However, when a winning run comes there are often victims and those who have to play second fiddle – particularly when certain players have stepped up in their performances.
Power and George Dobson have established themselves in the centre of Sunderland’s midfield with the former even taking on the captaincy with Grant Leadbitter away from the side due to personal reasons.
Both of them have been imperative in Phil Parkinson’s turnaround, forming a solid base both defensively and in attack.
That couldn’t have been clearer than when Power fired home in injury time to add just a second league goal of the season in midweek.
Since Josh Scowen arrived on loan from QPR in January in search of first-team football, Power has dipped below an average match rating – per WhoScored – of 6.6 on just one occasion. Similarly, Dobson has also managed that achievement, registering an average rating of over 7 on three occasions in his last seven outings.
Their performances last Saturday was typical of their recent efforts. Dobson completed over 96% of his passes while also winning two tackles and playing a key pass. His midfield partner also provided a key pass but won two aerial duels and completed two interceptions, via WhoScored.
Consequently, Scowen has had to settle for a place on the bench, failing to start a single game and amassing just 31 minutes of League One action since making his debut against Tranmere at the end of January.
For someone who was playing in the Championship earlier this campaign, you can forgive the 26-year-old for wanting more football, especially when you consider that was the reason he joined temporarily.
With Sunderland enduring a tricky January off the pitch amid Stewart Donald’s plans to sell, the club’s future was far from certain.
However, the Black Cats have now stabilised themselves. Unfortunately, Scowen has found himself the victim of that.
In other Sunderland news, Tony Coton can begin to meet his aims by landing a talented starlet…