Sunderland got their promotion campaign back on the right track against Ipswich as Chris Maguire struck a late winner in the 1-0 win.
The Black Cats’ recent run, which has seen just one loss in 11 games, has mostly been the result of two factors – a solid defence and some fine performances from Saturday’s matchwinner. Indeed, assistant manager Steve Parkin reflected on both factors as he looked towards Tuesday’s match against Rochdale, acknowledging that a good defence and clean sheets are important in order to climb the table, while also taking time to praise Maguire.
“Chris Maguire has got to play with energy. When his running stats are right up there he is at his very best. He is a very talented footballer. “
The midfielder has sparkled into form in recent weeks, with his eight goal contributions across the last nine matches taking his total tally up to 10 goals and six assists in League One. That makes him Sunderland’s biggest contributor in attack by some distance, and if he can stay fit and healthy then perhaps he could win the north-east outfit many more points from now until the end of the season.
Maguire hasn’t had things all his own way this term, however, and was dropped by Phil Parkinson in December after being spotted alongside Aiden McGeady eating McDonald’s after an away defeat. An overall record of 20 goals and 14 assists in 72 games for Sunderland shows his inconsistency, and it is notable that Parkin has commented on his energy levels in relation to his performances.
Phil Parkinson has done well to turn Maguire’s form around, playing him on the right-flank has led to an improvement, but he must now keep the 30-year-old motivated and concentrated on reaching the top of his game week in week out. If he does so, Sunderland should be accomplished in both defence and attack, so could have all of the tools needed to finish the campaign strongly.
What do you make of Maguire Sunderland fans, how important is he to the current side and where would you be without him? Tell us what you think about him below…
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