HOWARD WILKINSON has all the experience in the world and I think he will pull Sunderland around.
He has slowly introduced boys into the side for whom, for want of a better phrase, it means more to. The most significant player of that ilk would be Proctor, who had a spell on loan at York City. I actually saw him play for them on loan and he's back and a very willing worker.
Howard might try and integrate Kilbane back into things after having a stormy time since the summer with the fans.
He's very well covered in goal with Sorensen, Macho and the new arrival of Poom and I think Wright at full-back is adjusting to his move from Liverpool. I've always liked Gray going forward from left-back, he's a fine, attacking full-back.
But I think the most significant thing is two-fold. He's re-established Arca into the side, a very talented boy, left footed, gives them great balance playing in front of the left-back or as left-back and secondly, he appears to have stabilised Phillips and got him thinking along the right tracks that you are only as good as your last game and let's get some goals again. Phillips will get chances and will take chances. He is an excellent technician and excellent finisher and no-one can doubt that.
Howard has probably looked at the centre forward situation where they've had two giants to replace Quinn in Flo and Kyle. He also has a boy called Reddy who is very quick but perhaps not quite ready. Another thing that might help is that Schwarz is a thing of the past, Varga is a thing of the past, Thome and Craddock is likely to be the centre-back partnership - he'll probably give Thome another chance.
The one significance is that we've had Davies, Doherty, Gardner and Etherington, our youngsters, and he's signed a boy called Thornton, our type of buy. He came for something like £1million from Tranmere and he could be something that sparks them, just like Koumas sparked West Brom for a while.
I think Saturday will be a hard game, I think we're capable of winning it, of course, but the longer the game goes if it's close and tight the harder it will become.
Our director of football David Pleat casts a regular eye over our next opponents - next up, Sunderland on Saturday.