Kevin Phillips believes that Sunderland are going to have a real problem keeping hold of striker Charlie Wyke if they do not get promoted to the Championship.
Wyke was snapped up from Bradford City in 2018 and he was expected to be the man to help fire the Black Cats back to the Championship, but as of right now that hasn’t happened yet.
The striker has received much criticism over the last two seasons for his lack of goals – before the start of the current campaign he had netted just nine times in League One.
But this season he’s finally found his feet and the goals have started to flow, scoring 23 goals in 39 outings – but those strikes may not be enough to get Sunderland promoted.
The Wearsiders currently sit eight points behind Peterborough United who are in second position, and with just five games to go Lee Johnson’s side are running out of time to close the gap.
At this point a play-off campaign seems likely and there’s no guarantee the Black Cats get through that, and with Wyke’s contract expiring this summer, Sunderland are surely banking on promotion to keep him at the club.
And former player Phillips believes that clubs in the division above will no doubt be sniffing around the 28-year-old in the next few months with his future at the Stadium of Light up in the air.
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“It’s a double-edged sword. The more he scores the more people will want him at the end of the day,” Phillips told Football Insider.
“If Sunderland don’t go up, there will be teams sniffing around – 100 per cent.
“I imagine he will score at least 30 this season and when you are posting numbers like that, naturally, someone is going to be sniffing around.
“Could he help a team get out of the Championship? He is a player on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
“If a club is looking for a striker of his mould, there is not many better in the Championship or League One.”
With the help of Aiden McGeady’s return to the Sunderland team, Wyke has exploded into life this season and has proven that there was a prolific goalscorer all along.
The fact that Wyke’s contract has been allowed to run down though suggests that the club didn’t necessarily believe the striker was capable of a scoring run like this, and it could now come back to bite them.
Whether or not Wyke could do it in the Championship is another matter in itself, however after becoming Sunderland’s first 20-goal a season striker since Darren Bent, the fans will not want him to depart just yet.