This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson has added to his squad with the Black Cats completing the signing of Northern Ireland international striker Kyle Lafferty on a deal until the end of the season, as confirmed on the club website.
The 32-year-old former Burnley, Rangers and Hearts player moves to the Stadium of Light having last featured for Norwegian club Sarpsborg 08.
So is Lafferty a good signing at the Stadium of Light and can you see him starting regularly?
“A very smart signing for Sunderland who haven’t broken the bank to bring in a player who adds a lot of quality to a League One side, and could help Sunderland push for the top six.
“The Black Cats have been in desperate need of signing a striker since the start of the season, given the woeful form of current strikers Will Grigg, Charlie Wyke and the now-departed Marc McNulty.
“Coming in as a free agent, there is probably a settling-in process to be had with Lafferty and he may not hit the ground running instantly, but there is no doubting he has the quality to be one of the top strikers in the division.
“Sunderland aren’t a million miles away from where they need to be, especially after their thumping win on Saturday, and Lafferty could help give the side the boost they need to keep up their good form for the rest of the season.”
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“This for me hugely uninspiring singing by Sunderland. Kyle Lafferty has had pedigree in the past – he’s represented some big clubs in British football and is an experienced player at international level too but at 32-years-old, coming from Norwegian side Sapsborg, can he really still cut it in England?
“It’s only a short-term deal so if it doesn’t work out, all is not lost. Phil Parkinson’s side have won three of their last four in League One, their last being a 4-0 win over Wycombe which took them into the top-six. Chris Maguire bagged a brace in that game, and he’s been the main man for Sunderland of late.
“The Scot had four in his last four for Sunderland, and Lafferty would be unlikely to get in ahead of him on his current form. He also has the likes of Charlie Wyke to compete with and Will Grigg – a proven striker at this level who can’t even get in the team at the moment.
“I can’t see Lafferty starting regularly, and I can’t see him playing much football at all in the second-half of the season. It seems like more of a back-up signing but I’d love to see Lafferty do well for Sunderland, and try and fire them back into the Championship.”
“This is not a particularly exciting signing for Sunderland fans, but the fact Lafferty has only been signed on a short-term deal suggests he has only been added as attacking cover for the second half of the campaign.
“The Northern Ireland international does not boast a very impressive goal-scoring return in English football, but he could suit Parkinson’s style of play at Sunderland given his side tend to send so many balls into the box.
“This is where Lafferty could thrive as he is both strong in the air and possesses good hold-up play, and Parkinson must ensure his side utilise these key qualities whenever the striker is deployed.
“It will be interesting to see whether Parkinson views Lafferty as a regular contributor in attack for his side, but I can see the forward being a bit-part player unless he makes an immediate goal-scoring contribution.”