This week Sunderland Football Club announced the hiring of Nick Allamby from Bolton Wanderers. Allamby specializes in sport science, specifically fitness and conditioning (safc.com).
This hiring could show one of two things. Either a concern over the clubs current fitness situation or the club preparing for a busy back end of the season. The first scenario could well be the case. A few players are unavailable for this weekend’s FA Cup fixture versus Gillingham. Lee Burge is only just back training while Denver Hume and Alim Ozturk are set to miss the game. Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke are also set to sit out in order to rest (Sunderland Echo). It is clear that the team aren’t operating at full capacity as it is.
But perhaps the appointment was made with a building fixture list in mind. Sunderland’s game versus Bristol Rovers was just postponed until a later date (safc.com). This will bring Sunderland’s game in hand tally to three, and depending on how the next few weeks go regarding cup competition, it could only result in more fixtures down the line.
Parkinson did mention, however, that he wanted to, “create an athletic team that can press and Nick will help us do that.” (Sunderland Echo).
While the appointment may well be the club staying proactive in the face of a busy start to 2020, it also could bring about a different looking Sunderland. The team are struggling for goals at the moment, only scoring three goals in their last three games. In two of Parkinson’s first three games, the Black Cats were shutout (WhoScored.com).
A high pressing side could result in a few more goals if the team’s forwards can force turnovers in their opposition’s half. Hopefully for Sunderland fans the appointment of Allamby will help with this. If nothing else, it should result in a much fitter squad.