The pleasing thing about the second half at Sunderland was the sight of Leeds United’s players getting at the opposition goalkeeper.
I’ll be honest – at half-time I felt pretty worried about what I was seeing. We’d gone two-and-a-half games without posing any real threat up front and for all the talk about our defensive issues, the biggest problem at the moment is our inability to score goals.
The club are looking at signing new strikers this month and it’s easy to understand why. Teams who don’t look like scoring always end up in trouble and the statistics show that we’ve gone five games without producing a goal from open play.
I feel really sorry for Mirco Antenucci at the moment. Despite our results he’s actually playing really well but he’s ploughing a lone furrow up front.
He’s the only player in the team who’s trying to get into the box and trying to sniff out a few chances. Away to Derby he was almost having to create opportunities for himself.
When I look through our team, I just don’t see where the goals are coming from. That’s a big concern when you think about our position in the league but it’s reassuring to think that we’re likely to see new signings in that area of the team.
I’ve taken confidence too from the way we got at Sunderland in the second half. Okay, we lost the tie in the end but Liam Cooper hit the post and Sunderland were a bit lucky not to concede a penalty. A better finish from Adryan would have got us an equaliser just after half-time.
Whether the new formation used by Neil Redfearn is the answer long-term remains to be seen but I certainly thought it made the team more dangerous and less predictable.
We’re at the stage where something has to change and I hope the back end of the tie at Sunderland is a little shot in the arm going forward.
At the same time, league football is very different to cup football. In a cup game, you’re usually looking to win. Unless you’re a lower league club desperately trying to force a lucrative replay against a big side, you play to win the tie.
In the Championship the trick is to keep points ticking over. It’s much better to win games than it is to draw them but with our league position as it is, I’d settle for a few more draws, just to keep us moving forward.
Bolton Wanderers on Saturday is a fixture we have to get something from. We’ve taken one point from our last five league matches and that’s nowhere near enough. We’re getting sucked in slowly and the reality is that we either turn this form around quickly or we find ourselves lodged in the bottom three.
Bolton were in that position not so long ago but they’ve turned things around under Neil Lennon and they’re under slightly less pressure than we are. But I still think Bolton is the sort of place we should be going to feeling confident of victory. Yes, Lennon has got them in order but we’ll have a big travelling crowd with us again and I see nothing to fear.
One of the things that frustrates me at the moment is the fact that the players are getting all the support they could possibly ask for.
We had more than 5,000 fans at Sunderland and they were absolutely terrific. They were great at Derby too and the home attendances have been decent all season.
I don’t think you could say that the supporters are getting at the players or giving them a hard time.
If they were then I’d understand why a few of the lads were finding it really tough but there’s strong vocal backing week after week and everyone wants this side to do well.
I think that support needs to be reciprocated. The players need to start rising to it.
Liam Cooper had it right this week when he said there’s no point in the squad moping about or feeling sorry for themselves.
There’s loads of football left to play and plenty of time to get out of trouble. It’s time to start showing the fight we saw in the second half at Sunderland.