Sunderland dropped more crucial points on Saturday but former player Stephen Elliott thinks the result was totally avoidable and laid blame for the draw at Phil Parkinson’s door.
The Black Cats scored in the last ten minutes to seemingly wrap up all three points, only for Mikael Mandron to equalise for the visitors with one of the last touches of the game.
It is a result which adds another dent in Sunderland’s promotion bid, making it three games without a win in a pivotal moment of the season.
Phil Parkinson’s team dominated for large spells, achieving 62% possession and six shots on target, but Elliott still feels that a key failing of the manager was responsible for the dropped points.
In a tweet he wrote after the match, Elliott said:
“Think Parkinson should have changed it today. Why has he brought Scowen and John to the club? Deserved the plaudits after a good run but surely he has to recognise that the team needed freshening up after last few performances.”
There is a lot of truth to what the former striker says, as the only change from the Coventry defeat was Kyle Lafferty taking the place of the unavailable Charlie Wyke.
Sunderland fans have grown increasingly frustrated recently that underperforming players like Wyke and Denver Hume continue to start, particularly as the likes of Lafferty and Declan John were added in January to provide an alternative in the positions they play.
Lafferty’s two goals against the Gills show how effective he can be, considering that was his first start since joining.
It is concerning, therefore, that the only reason he got his chance was because Parkinson couldn’t pick Wyke. Now, especially as fatigue could be a factor after conceding so late on, the Black Cats boss must be open to change, and look to give others in his squad a chance.
Josh Scowen and John, the two payers mentioned by Elliott, both have Championship experience and could provide a big boost to the team if they were to start. A failure to even test them out now appears to be holding Sunderland back.
Meanwhile, Sunderland have made their feelings perfectly clear about one aspect of the team following Saturday’s draw…