Opposing View: Newcastle United
What were your hopes, fears & expectations for the season?
Inconsistent start to the season and I will be hoping for another European finish however with our Europa league campaign I think a top 8 finish would be realistic and decent finish to the season.
Were you always onto a loser after last season's highs?
We were never going to repeat what we did last year as we simply do not have the same spending power as the teams that finished above us. Looking back I would say we probably overachieved last year.
Did Mike Ashley under-invest in the playing staff over the summer or is this indicative of the club's transfer policy these days?
I would have liked one or two more players brought in over the summer but it's difficult because we no longer pay large amounts of money to get players in.
We also have the salary cap at the club so it's hard to bring in quality players who are not demanding ridiculous wages. This is our new transfer policy and it will benefit the club in the long term.
How will the extra strains of Europe affect you this season?
I believe the European campaign will affect our league season as I mentioned before we haven't got a big enough squad to rotate between the two.
One NUFC player you'd drive to his next club?
I would have to say Steven Taylor! His dedication to the cause is unquestionable and always plays with his heart on his sleeve. Not the most gifted player but gets the basics done and knows how important the club is to the fans.
Don't think he will ever leave the club!
One SAFC player you'd sign given the chance?
To be honest there are not many players in the Sunderland team that I would take as I genuinely believe we have a better squad. I wouldn't mind Sessegnon in our team because on his day he is a real handful for anyone.
Also Steven Fletcher as I always rated him at Wolves and he's proven this season that he knows how to hit the back of the net.
How will you line-up?
I imagine we will start out with a 4-4-2 but should we struggle it could easily change to a 4-3-3. Hopefully our centre backs are back from injury so should have a fairly strong side out.
Simpson Coloccini (c) Taylor Santon
Ben Arfa Cabaye Tiote Gutierrez
Or Gutierrez could move into the middle with Tiote and sit in front of the backline. Then Ben Arfa wide right, Ba wide left and Cabaye playing off Cisse.
Although I'm hoping for the win, a point would be a good result away from home so I'm going for 2-2.