Sunderland have started 2021 excellently, recording just two losses in 18 matches this calendar year. Dissecting that even further, the Black Cats have accumulated 23 points out of a possible 27 since mid-February, as they look to finally break free from England’s third tier.
Sunderland’s exceptional start to 2021 has coincided with the form of striker Charlie Wyke, who has 22 league goals to his name this season – a return that sees him joint top in the race for the golden boot with Peterborough United’s Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Adding more dazzle to his already brilliant figures, 15 of these league goals have come this calendar year.
Fixtures may be increasingly congested this season, but the fact that it is still March, shows how devastating the forward has been in front of goal of late.
Sunderland currently sit in third place, two points off Peterborough in second and five from Hull City at the summit, but the Black Cats still possess two games in hand on the Tigers.
If form is anything to go by, Sunderland will be a fancied outfit to clinch promotion this time around, with the automatic spots becoming more of a reality each week.
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Ultimately, Sunderland’s final position is likely to decide Wyke’s fate in the summer. If promotion is sealed, then Wyke is highly likely to remain with the Black Cats. However, if they are confined to a fourth season in League One, a whole host of Championship clubs are likely to register their interest.
Despite producing similar levels of drama to previous years, this season’s Championship has seen the lowest amount of goals per game in at least the last ten years. Scoring goals has been a leading issue for the majority of second tier clubs this campaign, with Wyke standing out as an obvious answer for some of these sides.
Coupled with his ability to score goals, is his availability come summer. With Covid-19 still impacting the financial circumstances at these Championship clubs, striking a bargain remains the priority. Wyke is out of contract at the end of the season, which only boosts any potential suitors.
League One has often provided Championship clubs with talented and capable forwards who have seamlessly slotted in to football in a higher tier. Ivan Toney, Kieffer Moore and Jack Marriott are just a few examples of players whose goalscoring abilities were not lost in the higher division after starring in League One the season before.