First things first before we get to the Q&A Blues. Last week Roker Report posted an article about a young Sunderland fan named Bradley Lowery. Bradley has a rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma and he needs treatment that he can only get in the U.S. A campaign named #JustOnePound has been launched with the goal of getting 400,000 individuals to donate £1 to help Bradley out. You can read the article here and make a donation here. For those of us outside of the UK, they do have a Paypal option. Please chip in if you can and let’s show everyone what Everton is all about.
With that said, we sat down with Rory Fallow from Roker Report to discuss this week’s opponent and to check in with how our old boss David Moyes is doing in his new post. You can read our responses over in their Fan Focus post.
RBM: David Moyes was appointed late in the summer to replace Big Sam Allardyce. Things have been rough on him since the start of the campaign. How does the fan base feel about Moyes and do they believe that he's the man to keep them up this season?
RR: Losing Sam and having all of our pre season preparation torn to shreds was a nightmare. The board acted fast to bring Moyes in, who was by far best and most logical appointment, but it felt like all our momentum from the second half of last season was instantly gone. Most supporters, while feeling frustrated, have acknowledged that Moyes has a tough job on his hands and, as he said in his press conference this week, it will be a "slow build" and not a "quick fix." That's exactly what we need and that's what he did with Everton, as he took them from a struggling side to a side comfortably sitting in the top six.
I believe he'll keep us up this season and hopefully with more time to spare too. We've had a mountain of injury problems, which hasn't helped in our early games, but Moyes still had the team playing well and we were unlucky not to get a point away to Manchester City and probably should have taken all three at Southampton. With players now coming back to full fitness and the squad boosted by some new signings, I'm confident that things will start coming together.
RBM: If Moyes doesn't work out, would you ever want to see Roy Keane back? He seems like a fun/scary guy and he did lead the Black Cats to a measure of success.
RR: Funnily enough, I was just watching an old Roy Keane interview this morning and was wondering if I'd like to see him back at Sunderland. His time here was great, every game was exciting and you were always desperate to hear what he was saying in press conferences. The club was on it's knees when Keane arrived and massively lacking identity but he came in and galvanised not just the club but the whole city. It sounds corny but he really "got it" and understood the supporters.
One of my best memories of his time as manager was when we played Barnsley away in the promotion season. It was March so promotion was very much on the cards and we took 8,000 visiting supporters to the match. Well, officially anyway, there were loads more Mackems dotted around the ground. The tunnel at Oakwell is the corner, which had the travelling Sunderland supporters either side of it. The players came out to the usual cheers, applause and shouts of "Ha'way lads!" Everyone was waiting for Keano to emerge though and when he did, everyone went nuts. He was probably greeted with the levels of enthusiasm that some fans cheer goals. And what did Keane do? He just kept walking and gave a single wave. Cool as you like. It all added to his enigmatic character and we loved it. Roy Keane was exactly what Sunderland needed back then.
It's a shame it ended sourly between him and Ellis Short. It makes me wonder if he has the temperament for modern management but if he could sort that out, I wouldn't be against seeing him in dugout again one day.
RBM: Everton really wanted Lamine Kone this summer. Things didn't work out and he's still plying his trade up north. Are you happy that he's still there or is he considered more of an expendable player for the money that was offered? Will he stick around in the next window?
RR: It's weird because it got to the point with Kone where most thought we should let him go. Whether he was being led by an agent or being difficult himself, it was causing a bad atmosphere around the club and we thought we should just take the money. Especially when he got "injured" before we played Middlesbrough, something Moyes highlighted the dubious nature of in his pre match press conference when he stated "he believes he's injured."
Kone definitely wouldn't be considered expendable and he proved just how important he is to our defence with a good showing away to Southampton. So I'm definitely glad he's still here and that the club stood their ground over the fee. Hopefully they sort a new deal out soon so we don't have the same speculation in January.
RBM: In addition to bringing in some of his old players from Everton in Steven Pienaar and Victor Anichebe, he also brought in Manchester United youngsters Adnan Januzaj (loan), Paddy McNair and Donald Love. Any thoughts on if they will be providing large contributions this season?
RR: Januzaj definitely will making a big contribution and has already looked dangerous in his early outings. I've been impressed with Pienaar as well, he's been thrust straight into the team due to injury problems but his composure and quality on the ball has made up for a lack of match fitness.
You can't lavish much praise on McNair and Love unfortunately, as both have struggled in early games. In fairness, Love wasn't signed to be first choice but injuries, again, dictated otherwise. Now that Javier Manquillo has arrived, Love can fall back to being a deputy. Similar can be said for McNair who has seen more time on the pitch due to Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff being sidelined. With the signing of Didier Ndong and Kirchhoff set to be fit on Monday night, he'll fall back to his natural place in the pecking order though.
Our defence certainly looks stronger with Jason Denayer and Papy Djilobodji signing. Losing Younes Kaboul to Watford was a blow but with their arrival, the back line certainly has more strength in depth than it did last season.
RBM: What is your prediction for the match? Any players on either side to watch?
It's going to difficult for us, given how well Everton have started. Jan Kirchhoff coming back will make a big difference for us though and with Defoe upfront, I'm confident we'll score at least once. I'd be surprised if we kept a clean sheet so it's going to have to be a case of outscoring Everton. I'll be confident and say 2-1, Defoe and Januzaj scoring either side of a Ross Barkley equaliser.
Thanks to Rory for taking the time to answer our questions this week. Enjoy the match and COYB!