There were plenty of eye-catching deals during last summer’s transfer market, and Sunderland were certainly responsible one of them on the final day of that window.
That deadline day saw the Black Cats complete the signing of versatile defender Dion Sanderson on-loan with Premier League side Wolves until the end of the season.
Given Sanderson had already earned game time at first-team level with Wolves, and impressed with Cardiff on-loan in the Championship last season, you imagine plenty will have been expected of the 21-year-old at The Stadium of Light.
So how have things gone for Sanderson at Sunderland so far? What issues does the defender face at the club? And what might be next for him at the Stadium of Light?
Here, we’ve taken a look at all of that, in our latest hat-trick feature.
How’s it gone so far?
To start with, it appears as though things were rather frustrating for Sanderson at Sunderland.
The defender initially struggled to establish himself in the Black Cats’ starting XI, being named in the lineup just once in the league prior to the sacking of Phil Parkinson at the end of November.
However, since the appointment of Lee Johnson in early December, Sanderson has enjoyed more regular opportunities, starting five league games and coming off the bench in five more, a vast improvement on the three league appearances he made under Parkinson, with the defender producing some promising performances during his time on the pitch.
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What issues does he face?
As is the case for any Sunderland player at this moment in time, one big issue Sanderson will be facing is the weight of expectation.
A club the size of Sunderland are one that will of course feel as though they should be playing at a higher level than League One – as they currently are – meaning there will be plenty of pressure on the likes of Sanderson to try and put that right between now and the end of the season.
With several of the club’s centre backs also currently out through injury Sanderson especially is also going to have to stay as fit and on form as possible, with the lack of available options in that position meaning Lee Johnson has very few other players to rely on in that position right now.
Sanderson will no doubt be hoping to play a big role in what Sunderland will hope is a successful promotion push between now and the end of the season, as he looks to convince those watching on at Wolves that he is worthy of a first-team opportunity at Molineux next season.
The Black Cats currently sit seventh in the League One table, one point of the play-offs and eight adrift of an automatic promotion 19 league games left to play before the end of the campaign.
There is also the small matter of a trip to Wembley for the EFL Trophy final next month, although that looks set to be a frustrating afternoon for Sanderson, with the defender cup-tied in that competition.