SussexBaggie speaks...Sunderland and Hodgson

Last weekend saw us make the trip to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland, who had made a poor start to the season themselves and whose manager Steve Bruce was under pressure as a result.

We started the game brilliantly, going 2-0 up inside the opening five minutes thanks to goals from James Morrison and Shane Long. Unfortunately, we allowed them back into the game and it was 2-2 by the time the game had reached the half-hour mark.

Although I cannot discuss the game in too much detail seeing as I have only seen the highlights, it seems as though Roy Hodgson was content with a point after seeing us pegged back, with Sunderland enjoying more of the play in the second half in particular.

In normal circumstances, a point away from home against a side like Sunderland would be seen as a decent result. However, it sounds as though they were there for the taking after we went into the lead so early and so it is difficult to see this result as anything other than a missed opportunity to pick up what would have been a morale-boosting three points.

Gold and black

We now have to wait two weeks until our next match, which is the first Black Country derby of the season at home to Wolves. 

Having an international break before this match is not ideal, with many of our key players jetting off all over the world to represent their countries over the next week or so.

There will be a lot of pressure on both sides going into this game, as Wolves have now lost their last four Premier League games and we have only picked up five points from our opening seven matches.

However, form goes out of the window in derby matches and they are often decided by which side wants it most on the day. We played poorly in both of our games against Wolves last season, needing a last-minute equaliser from Carlos Vela at The Hawthorns to salvage a point, and succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at Molineux the day after our Premier League status had been mathematically secured.

Difference of opinions

The mood among some of our supporters at the moment is fairly negative, with some even questioning the future of Hodgson as our manager.

I have questioned some of his tactical decisions and how late he often leaves it before making substitutions, but I definitely believe that he is the man to turn our form around.

We saw last season that after he first took charge, there was a period of transition where we drew a few games rather than win them. However, once he had implemented his ideas and given the players a chance to get used to them, we achieved some outstanding results and stayed up with quite a lot to spare in the end.

It is impossible to say whether this will be the case again, but we are seven games into the season and had one of the toughest starts of any side in the Premier League.

If we are to be totally realistic, I don’t think many Albion fans expected us to be much higher than where we are at the moment (17th) at this stage of the season. We started the season playing against the top two from the previous campaign, and have followed it with three away games out of four, picking up five points.

I’m sure Hodgson will be using these two weeks without a game to try and work out the best way to approach the Wolves match, especially seeing as I’m sure he knows exactly how much it means to the supporters.

In the mean time, hopefully our players who are representing their countries over the next week or so can put in some good performances and maybe get a goal or two to boost their confidence ahead of some important games when they return to the Albion. 

Do you support Roy Hodgson or think its time for change after Albion's stuttering start? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.