Surprise weak link: SAFC & Parkinson must exploit “outstanding” colossus vs Gillingham – opinion

Surprise weak link: SAFC & Parkinson must exploit “outstanding” colossus vs Gillingham – opinion

Phil Parkinson can look to exploit a surprise target in Sunderland’s trip to Gillingham on Saturday after the League One side brought Queens Park Rangers’ Joe Lumley in on a late emergency loan.

The Gills signed Lumley after losing first-choice shot-stopper Jack Bonham to concussion following their 1-0 defeat to Ipswich last week, and are expected to thrust the 25-year-old straight into the starting line-up, per the Sunderland Echo, after just two days of training.

Lumley was registered in time for the Black Cats’ visit to Priestfield Stadium and has pleased Gills boss Steve Evans with what he’s brought to the club.

“Lumley is a ‘keeper who has played against my teams, and I have watched perform many times,” Evans said. “He is an excellent goalkeeper.

“He trained yesterday, and again today, and he joins Joe Walsh in being the two goalkeepers who will be selected tomorrow.”

QPR allowed Lumley to leave on an emergency loan despite having called on the 6 ft 2 colossus to start two of their Championship fixtures this season, while boss Mark Warburton recently noted that his later exclusion came amid uncertainty surrounding the goalie’s long-term future.

“It’s down to contracts,” he stated, via quotes by the Brent & Kilburn Times. “We’ve got players at different stages with their contract talks and my squad reflected that.

“Players can get distracted by different things. I’ve got to pick the right squad and that was the right squad for today.”

Lumley, who is out of contract next summer, could now be an avenue Parkinson can look to exploit in Sunderland’s visit to Gillingham, having displayed signs in his two Championship appearances that will offer the Black Cats hope.

After keeping a clean sheet in the R’s season-opening win over Nottingham Forest, the Harlow-born shot-stopper could not prevent Coventry City from winning 3-2 in his last outing of the term to date.

Over those two outings, Lumley could only average 1.0 saves per game, too, which accounts for 40% of the shots he faced, while also not registering any successful runs out, per SofaScore.

Criticism has often not been far away for Lumley, as well, with Warburton noting last December that his ‘outstanding’ goalkeeper had responded well to the backlash he’d received after a string of costly mistakes that affected his confidence.

“These guys take a lot of abuse on social media which I think is outrageous. You might say ‘don’t read it’, but at 24 they’re going to read it,” he said, via quotes by FourFourTwo. “I think our genuine fans, if they knew the abuse some of our players get, they’d be mortified, they really would.

“He’s come through a couple of mistakes and showed his quality. He was outstanding for us today. He’s learned from his mistakes, has stepped up, the crowd supported him and I’m delighted.”

Parkinson must be aware of Lumley’s tendency to stay back on his line rather than rushing out to pressure forwards, and provide that knowledge to top-scorer Charlie Wyke as the 27-year-old strives to hit the net in a third successive league fixture.

Lumley having any early issues settling into his new League One surroundings could prove to be the difference between Sunderland winning at Gillingham on Saturday, or going a third match without claiming all three points.

AND in other news, a “brilliant” Sunderland ace has left Phil Parkinson with an easy decision amid his injury fears.

The post Sunderland can exploit a surprise target in Gillingham’s Joe Lumley first appeared on FootballFanCast.com.