Nathan Broadhead had been in electric form for Sunderland with five goals in four games before he was forced off with a hamstring injury in Sunderland’s 5-1 defeat at Arsenal last week.
The injury did not come before the Everton loanee beat Bernd Leno to halve the deficit with a delicious chip, but unfortunately the knock has the 23-year-old on the treatment table for a minimum of three months.
Hamstring injuries tend to be temperamental and can crop up multiple times in a players career, Lee Johnson informed the club’s website of Broadhead’s situation this morning.
He said: “It’s a bad one for Nathan. I would say it will be a minimum of three months, but it could be the season.”
The Black Cats are unbeaten in seven in League One, winning four, re-igniting their automatic promotion hopes in the last month or so and Broadhead played a huge part in it.
It looks certain that the versatile forward will not return until potentially the business end of the campaign, and while he is taking up one of the five loan slots, that can be named in a matchday squad, at the Stadium of Light, Broadhead’s presence could hamper Sunderland’s ability to bring in another high profile loanee in the January transfer window.
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With Ross Stewart’s goal threat drying up considerably since the opening stretch of the season, the loss of Broadhead will be very concerning for Johnson and the club’s automatic promotion credentials. Frederik Alves, the loanee who has seen the least first team opportunities, could return to West Ham United next month and free up a loan slot in the process.
You can of course, bring in more than five loanees and while Broadhead is unavailable, it would not be as much of a problem but should he return there would be selection dilemmas for Johnson. Hopefully, the 23-year-old can recover soon enough to contribute in the closing exchanges of the campaign but the injury certainly gives Sunderland a lot to ponder going into the transfer window.