Not for the first time, it feels like this is a season that could go either way for Sunderland, as they battle to finally win promotion back to the Championship from League One.
Sitting just outside the play-off places, the Black Cats once again look like they have the potential to challenge for a return to the second-tier of English football, although it does once again feel as though certain underlying issues could prove costly for the North-East club.
One such issue that exemplifies that, is the lack of goalscoring threat, with only Charlie Wyke (seven) so far scoring more than four league goals for the club this season.
That is an issue that Sunderland will surely have to address if they are to maintain their push for promotion across the course of the season, get the goals they need to win the games that will get them back into the Championship.
As a result, you couldn’t blame Sunderland if they were to dip into the transfer market in January in search of an added goal threat, and one option that could be worth considering for the Black Cats, is a move for QPR’s Charlie Kelman.
Last season, five goals in 18 league appearances for Southend were enough to secure Kelman a move to the Championship with the Hoops, although since then, things have stagnated slightly for the 19-year-old.
Up until now, Kelman has made just two Championship appearances for Mark Warburton’s side this season, both of which have come from the bench late on in matches, meaning you wonder whether they could be tempted to leave on loan in January, in search of more regular game time for the hugely promising youngster.
Should that happen, it could certainly be argued that Sunderland ought to be ready to pounce on that opportunity.
Given the impressive goalscoring record he produced at such a young age for a Southend side who were plummeting towards relegation from League One last season, you can’t help but wonder what Kelman could do in that division, with that extra quality in support of him that he would surely get at that the Stadium of Light.
That is something that only ought to be enhanced by the benefits of training with Championship level players at QPR ought to have provided him with over the past few months, something which could even help some of those players who already make up part of Lee Johnson’s side.
Indeed, if Kelman is loaned out for the second half of this season, then you feel he will be absolutely determined to prove a point during his time away from QPR, and will therefore to playing to the peak of his abilities if possible, another thing that could make him asset were Sunderland to win any potential race for his signature.
It could also be argued that with one recently-departed QPR man currently at Sunderland in the form of Josh Scowen, the Championship club could also see Sunderland as a particularly beneficial destination for Kelman, both with the insight it could help provide him with of his parent club and, of course, the experience of competing in a promotion battle that a spell with Lee Johnson’s side should provide him with.
It seems therefore, that this is a deal that could benefit Kelman’s prospects and QPR assets in the long-term, as much as it could benefit Sunderland in the short-term.
You wonder whether that is a point that the Black Cats ought to be making to their Championship counterparts, if they want to give themselves a decent chance of joining them in that second-tier, in the not too distant future.