This has been a season to forget for Sunderland so far.
Unfortunately, that’s a sentence that can be applied for the last five campaigns. They have been relegated twice and are now struggling to get out of League One for a third consecutive year.
However, with a colossal changing of the guard, perhaps things will improve? This week, Sunderland sacked Phil Parkinson and brought in Lee Johnson as his replacement.
A brand new sporting director in Kristjaan Speakman was also hired as the club look to make improvements in terms of their recruitment and academy.
However, as their performance against Wigan on Saturday afternoon demonstrated, there is plenty of work to be done.
Johnson was announced as the new manager on Saturday morning and just hours later he was in the dugout for the Mackems’ clash with the Latics. Unfortunately, he would have been left incredibly concerned with what he saw.
Sunderland’s run without a win in the league extended to five games and they failed to find the back of the net. That, of course, wasn’t helped by top scorer and creator Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke missing out through injury. Though, with Aiden McGeady returning, they did have added invention.
This term has been a disaster for the striker. He hasn’t found the net and on Saturday, it just about summed up his diabolical time at the Stadium of Light.
Now, Chris Maguire wasn’t fantastic – losing possession 19 times – but Grigg’s urgency was even worse. To put it bluntly, he was anonymous, being completely alienated by the lack of creativity in attack.
He made fewer passes than goalkeeper Lee Burge (13 successful from 19 attempted) and failed to have a single shot in the whole match.
Furthermore, Grigg also didn’t win a ground or aerial duel during his time on the pitch.
This was a woeful performance from the striker but hopefully once Johnson has installed his beliefs and philosophies he will thrive.
After all, the manager has previously reiterated the desire to play with more agile forwards in his teams.
Watch out, Wyke.