Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has revealed that he is hoping to see Alex Pritchard kick-on at the Stadium of Light following the midfielder’s strike in the club’s 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town.
Signed by the Black Cats in the summer transfer window, the 28-year-old has only managed to illustrate glimpses of his talent in the third-tier during the current campaign.
After providing assists for his team-mates during the club’s clashes with Gillingham, Crewe Alexandra and Ipswich Town, Pritchard netted his first league goal for Sunderland last night.
The Black Cats were unable to build upon the midfielder’s effort despite the fact that Shrewsbury were reduced to ten-men on the stroke of half-time.
Following the break, the Shrews levelled proceedings as Daniel Udoh fired past Sunderland goalkeeper Thorben Hoffmann.
Johnson’s side were unable to break down Shrewsbury during the latter stages of the clash as they were forced to settle for a point at the Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Making reference to Pritchard following this fixture, Johnson has suggested the midfielder should now be looking to push-on in League One after scoring against the Shrews.
Speaking to the Northern Echo about Pritchard, the Sunderland boss said: “He’s got that quality – no question.
“He’s in League One for a reason and at a big club that he believes in, which is important because he did have Championship offers.
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“So there’s a mutual belief – him in us and us in him – and I need more moments like that [goal].
“That’s what I expect from Alex Pritchard and a player of his quality.”
Having netted his first league goal for Sunderland yesterday, Pritchard will be determined to establish himself as a mainstay in the club’s starting eleven for the foreseeable future.
With the Black Cats set to face Cambridge United on Saturday, it will be intriguing to see whether the midfielder is able to build upon his latest display in this particular fixture.
As well as scoring for Sunderland in last night’s game, the midfielder managed to provide three key passes for his team-mates as he recorded an impressive WhoScored match rating of 7.80.
By delivering the goods on a consistent basis at this level over the Christmas period, Pritchard could potentially help his side move up the League One standings.