With the International shenanigans finally out the way (for a few weeks at least) we can get back to fretting about the state of our League campaign. It seems a long time since the disastrous 5 minutes against West Ham and, following the loss at the Hawthorns, we find ourselves fourth from bottom with both Newcastle and Spurs below us. Precarious to say the least. My sense of optimism is hardly helped by our impending visitors. Last April the home game against Sunderland seemed to be a must win game. It was a game we ended up losing with very little fight and was the point at which I finally put my hands up and accepted relegation. The benefit of hindsight eh?
My expectations for this weekend are pretty low. Our current form doesn’t suggest a team capable of improving on last season’s effort and it seems to me that Sunderland have made some very good additions to their squad. They won on their last visit to London (a 2-1 win at Spurs, but who doesn’t win there this season) and put in a very creditable performance against Arsenal (a 1-1 draw) in their last home game. I’m not confident. We need some big improvements to pick up a much needed win.
Before the game there will be the excitement of the Johnny Haynes Statue unveiling. Tosh Chamberlain and Johnny’s wife Avril will be in attendance for what will, no doubt, be an emotional occasion. Fans are invited to gather in front of the Cottage from 12:00 onwards for a 12:45 ceremony. Much credit for all this should go to the Johnny Haynes Statue Action Group who have put in a lot of work to make sure it has happened.