Mike Dodds delivers verdict on Sunderland's attacking struggles and why he believes it will soon improve

Sunderland laboured to a 0-0 draw with QPR on Saturday afternoon
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Mike Dodds says he believes his Sunderland side will show more of an attacking threat after the international break as they failed to register a single shot on target against QPR.

The Black Cats were indebted to Anthony Patterson for a crucial save in each half as they brought an end to their six-game losing run, but the performance itself was a forgettable one. Dodds admitted afterwards that he was very disappointed with what his team produced, but insisted it was primarily due to the sheer number of absentees.

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Luke O'Nien will return from suspension after the international break, with Aji Alese, Corry Evans and Bradley Dack also set to be in contention for the trip to Cardiff City on Good Friday. While Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts are major doubts for the easter weekend, they should be able to play a part in the run in.

"I think there’s 10 senior players not available for selection," Dodds said.

"When you take 10 senior players, through injuries or suspension, out of any Championship team, I think it’s going to be difficult and you saw that today. I knew it was going to be quite a clunky afternoon just based upon the fact we’ve got so many bodies not available to us at the moment. Hopefully, moving forward we can get bodies back and it will feel a lot easier for everyone.

"I’ve got to take a level of responsibility as the head coach but I knew it was going to be a difficult afternoon because they’re fighting for their lives and the bodies that I had available to select were the bodies I had available to select," he added.

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"When you take 10 players out of any Championship team it’s going to start to look a little bit clunky and it’s not going to look like what we’re used to.We’ve got two weeks now where we’re going to get some bodies back, which will be a huge boost for myself and to the group. I think they’re trying and they’re giving everything but at the moment we’re a little bit short. I wouldn’t say it’s a recruitment issue. The issue we have at the moment is we have a number of key, key players in the top area of the pitch who are not available. When you take a Patrick Roberts out of a Championship team, he’s got Premier League quality, and when you’re taking Jack Clarke out, you’re taking two of the best wingers in the league and you’re replacing them with players we feel will have a long-term future with the club, that have high potential, but just don’t have the experience that maybe those two players have and the quality, yet, that those two players have.

"But it is what it is. I know that’s not helping anyone and it’s not going to be a phrase anyone wants to hear but when we have the bodies out that we have out I think you get what I would call a naïve and clunk performance that you saw this afternoon."