| 7.7°C Belfast

Gareth McAuley

I can't see Lafferty's Black Cats move being wonderPhil

Gareth McAuley


Wearside-bound: Kyle Lafferty

Wearside-bound: Kyle Lafferty

�INPHO/PressEye/Brian Little

Wearside-bound: Kyle Lafferty

I fear Kyle Lafferty's move to Sunderland will be a car crash.

A disaster waiting to happen.

As a former team-mate of Kyle's and a Northern Ireland fan, I want to see Kyle playing regularly and if Phil Parkinson wasn't the Sunderland manager, then the Black Cats would tick all the boxes for him.

But I struggle to see how 'old school' Phil will tolerate Kyle's behaviour.

They will be chalk and cheese.

Kyle has never been the best trainer, he likes his practical jokes, sometimes goes quiet in games, doesn't always stick to the schedule and discipline is an issue.

What Kyle needs is a manager who will accept and indulge his moments of madness, who will put an arm round him, fill him full of confidence and give him the benefit of the doubt when Kyle fails to deliver in games.

Phil is the complete opposite, he is a hard task master, who is old fashioned in his methods, there is no room for joking about and I suppose he is someone who uses the stick, rather than the carrot.

There will be a huge clash of personalities. Remember when Kyle was frozen out by Alex Neil at Norwich? It could be a similar state of affairs.

However, I'm not sure Kyle had too many other options since returning from his foray in Norway. I just feel Phil will hate the way Kyle gets on. It will grate on him and obviously that is bad news for Kyle.

Josh Magennis played under Phil and while Josh likes a laugh, when it comes to the training pitch and an actual game, he is deadly serious. He tries his best all of the time. Josh and Kyle are two completely different characters.

Kyle is at his best when he is loved, cherished, supported and a manager looks the other way at all his craziness and messing about.

But the position Sunderland find themselves currently in League One means the club can only take a serious approach to the rest of the season.

Also, I get the impression there are a few players at Sunderland who like the notion of being professional footballers but don't really want to put in the extra hard yards that are needed.

Kyle will need to put the head down, try and get the fans onside from the first game and there must be no let up in his desire to be the best he can be at the Stadium of Light.

At 32, can he really do that now?

Then, there is the question of logistics.

Kyle's family home is just outside Glasgow. I doubt he'll want to move his family to Sunderland, so does he do a round six-hour trip everyday, or stay a few days in Sunderland and commute the rest? I'm sure the club would prefer if he put all his energies into playing football.

From a Northern Ireland perspective, Kyle simply needs to be playing regularly and finding form ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of March.

If you look at our panel of strikers, only Liam Boyce at Burton in League One has been playing and scoring regularly.

Josh has been out crocked since the last week in November, Conor Washington has only come back from his long term injury, Will Grigg has struggled to make an impression at Sunderland this season and Kyle scored only one goal in nine appearances for Norwegian outfit Sarpsborg, before their season came to a close six weeks ago.

Therefore, it is imperative for Northern Ireland that Lafferty can hit the ground running at Sunderland.

Even though the Black Cats have struggled in recent years, they are still a big club, with excellent facilities and Kyle, with his bubbly personality, should be welcomed into the fold there quickly and of course he already knows Conor McLaughlin, Tom Flanagan and Grigg, who play there.

Sunderland and Northern Ireland desperately require a red-hot and focused Kyle banging in the goals and being a real threat up front.

I can only hope my initial reservations about Kyle and his new club manager are unfounded.

Jones need regular games after he blue it with Gerrard

Rangers winger Jordan Jones has a decision to make during this transfer window — does he stick or twist?

I feel the best move for his career would be a loan deal.

He needs games after returning from a long injury lay-off and with Ryan Kent ahead of him in the Ibrox pecking order, it’s unlikely he’ll see much action.

I noticed Sheffield United were linked with Jordan, but that would be a ridiculous move.

He would be going from a club where he is currently not playing to another club where he would not be playing.

Jordan isn’t at Premier League level.

I know he may like the sound of being attached to a Premier League club, but he needs action compared to his ego simply being boosted.

Anyway, can you really call yourself a Premier League player by just playing a handful of games?

When I think of Premier League players the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard spring to mind, players who have played hundreds of games in the top flight.

Jordan needs to find himself a good Championship club but I’m not sure Michael O’Neill’s Stoke is a good option for him either. James McClean is probably Michael’s best player and he is not moving from the left wing, so Jordan would have to move over to the right, which maybe wouldn’t suit him.

Staying at Rangers is obviously a possibility but he would have to win over manager Steven Gerrard again. The last time Jordan saw Gers action was when he was brought on as a second half substitute against Celtic in September and tried to win over the fans with a reckless challenge, which saw him pick up an injury and red card. Gerrard lambasted Jordan after that and having spent time with the manager last year I know he would have viewed it as a purely selfish act.

Steven is all about the team and Jordan trying to curry favour with the Rangers fans would not have gone down well.

Jordan is also inconsistent, some flashes of brilliance when he beats his man and crosses a dangerous ball but then he’ll go missing in games.

He needs to improve that if he is to battle his way back into the Rangers team.

Jordan will know himself, talking to coaches, team-mates and the manager if he has a chance at Rangers.

He’s still got a few years to go on his contract but he needs to be playing.

Jordan (right), in the last year, has missed a lot of football. He hardly played during the second half of last season and then the injury during the first half of this season.

Playing regularly is important for him at this stage of his career, and also for Northern Ireland with the Bosnia game coming up in March.

I hope he makes the correct decision this month.

Please log in or register with for free access to this article.

Already have an account?

Belfast Telegraph