COLUMNIST Alex White admits Brede Hangeland has won him over, and now thinks the big man deserves a run in the team...
Seemingly last week the dilemma was which back four to pick. Neil Warnock certainly has his constraints with Scott Dann out injured and Damien Delaney suspended.
Brede Hangeland has been called upon for the last two fixtures and has slotted into the heart of our defence perfectly. Prior to the Chelsea game I was disappointed to see Hangeland get the nod but his last two performances have certainly proved me wrong. Brede has shown his experience, know-how and more importantly, his quality at this level. I have been very impressed with his positioning and both his attacking threat and defensive prowess from set pieces.
It would be extremely difficult not to go back to our normal heartbeat in defence of Delaney and Dann when both are back and available, as Hangeland is proving he could slot in quite nicely. With reports Scott Dann could be back in time for the Sunderland game, I personally would like to see Hangeland partner Dann at the back.
I am a big admirer of Damien Delaney but I don't see what he offers that Hangeland doesn't, neither are certainly blessed with pace but I think Hangeland's quality and experience in the top flight puts him slightly ahead of Damo. Don't get me wrong, Delaney has been an absolute rock for us since our promotion season and to see his energy in the squad has been a revelation at times but there is no place for sentiment at this level and I think Brede deserves his chance to play alongside Dann in the Sunderland game.
It isn't even ten games into the season and this Monday night fixture has already been branded a six-pointer. It is extremely early days but winning or losing these games to teams in and around you could be crucial come May. I think the key at this stage of the season is to ensure we don't lose these fixtures and fall behind the teams who will be in and around us come the end of the season.
Sunderland have been poor to say the least in the last few weeks and we need to take advantage of that, if we perform how we did in the first half at the Hawthorns we will come away victorious but any glimpses of the second it could be a tricky fixture. I would enjoy nothing more than getting three points over Gus Poyet and leaving his position hanging in the balance.