Sutton United appointed Steve Morison at the start of January after ex-manager Matt Gray was sacked following a run of poor results but it hasn’t been the start everyone was hoping for.
Sutton currently sit in 23rd place in the table and are seven points adrift of safety. They have conceded the most goals this campaign so far, with 59 hitting the back of their net. This includes when they shipped eight goals against Stockport County in December which subsequently was the result that got former boss Matt Gray relieved of his duties. Their last win came on Boxing Day in a 1-0 away win at playoff hopefuls AFC Wimbledon and the U’s are eight games without a win since.
Morison was manager of Isthmian League side Hornchurch before being appointed by the League Two outfit. He left the Essex club seven points clear at the top of the Isthmian Premier Division. The former striker had previously managed Cardiff City in the Championship and guided them to safety in the 21/22 season having also been head coach of their Under 23’s.
The new Sutton boss quickly made his mark at the club, signing six players in the January transfer window. Charlie Lakin, Olly Sanderson, Nino Adom-Malaki and Stephen Duke-McKenna all signed on loans until the end of the season. At the same time, Lewes striker Deon Moore and Fulham defender Jay Williams both joined on permanent deals.
A 2-2 draw against high-flyers Barrow in his first game in charge was a positive start to Morison’s reign at Gander Green Lane but with three draws and one loss since it hasn’t been the new era U’s fans may have expected so far. That’s not to say they haven’t been unlucky recently, conceding a penalty in the very last minute of their game against Doncaster Rovers last weekend to draw 1-1. With 16 games to go this season, there is no time to pick up points here and there – Sutton have to win games. Four victories at this stage is nowhere near good enough at any level of football and if they want to make it four consecutive seasons in League Two, the man from Enfield has to instil these players with a winning mentality.
His success as a player across the Football League should put him in a good position to know what it takes to get wins regardless of form. The former Welsh international was a leader and a good one at that. He certainly won’t go down without a fight which is all fans can ask of their manager especially in the situation they find themselves in. He helped Millwall to two promotions up to the Championship as a player, even scoring the winning goal in their play-off final against Bradford City in 2017. Despite his shaky start as U’s boss, there’s no reason to suggest why Morison isn’t the right man to guide the club to safety and it’s crucial he is supported by the fans and the board from now until May.
They face Morecambe at the weekend and with Wrexham the game after, they must pick up points quickly. If they don’t, it might not be third time lucky at a managerial job for the 40-year-old however his recent success at Hornchurch and the job he did at Cardiff should be enough to suggest it will be.