The next two months will be pivotal in shaping Sunderland’s future.
With Kyril Louis-Dreyfus now in full control of the club things are starting to look up at the Stadium Of Light as improvements off the pitch are being matched with a genuine reason to be cheerful on it.
After two seasons where the Black Cats failed to secure promotion things looked like going a similar way this term until Lee Johnson came in and instilled a deep-rooted confidence and winning mentality in the squad.
But while there’s plenty of times for hailing the team effort a quick look at the statistics tells you that one man in particular must be given a huge serving of credit for his performances this term.
Charlie Wyke is a player who arrived at Sunderland with a decent goalscoring record from his time with Carlisle United and Bradford City, but things didn’t get off to the best of starts at the Stadium Of Light.
Five goals in his first season with the club and six in his second hardly assured fans that the 28-year-old was the man to lead them to glory but this season things have really clicked into place.
Wyke has scored 24 goals in all competitions so far this term, with a staggering 16 of them coming since Johnson was appointed as manager in early December.
The new boss has clearly done wonders for player’s confidence but through no fault of his own he may have caused something of a predicament for the club’s future planning.
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Wyke is one of a number of players who are out of contract at the end of the season.
To think that his stunning form this term won’t have attracted interest from the Championship is hugely naive and that means that the Black Cats could be facing an anxious couple of months.
Sunderland are looking incredibly strong in the League One promotion race right now and based on that it would take a brave person to bet against them going up.
If they end up falling short, however, it could be incredibly tricky to keep hold the powerful striker.
There will be at least a handful of clubs in the Championship who are looking for a proven frontman to bolster their line this summer and with Wyke available on a free transfer it makes a potential move incredibly appealing.
That means that Lee Johnson will be praying that his side can get the job done as without promotion they face the prospect of losing such an integral member of the team for absolutely nothing.