For Sunderland, there is only one objective this season – they have to win promotion.
Lee Johnson’s appointment will give those at the club renewed optimism that they can return to the Championship, but the new boss will already have discovered the major issue he has. The team lack a natural goalscorer.
Whilst Charlie Wyke’s return of seven goals in 16 games is respectable, the reality is that he hasn’t proven himself to be a reliable scorer at this level over the years. More worryingly for the Black Cats, Grant Leadbitter is the club’s second top scorer with four.
Simply put, they need at least one more striker, particularly with Will Grigg set for a lengthy spell out, whilst Danny Graham and Aiden O’Brien have struggled to make an impact.
Therefore, news that Sunderland look set to miss out on transfer target Ched Evans, who is poised to join Preston, is a worry.
Whether the Fleetwood striker would’ve been the right addition is open to debate, however he has shown that he can be a prolific finisher at this level.
Whilst Johnson’s start to life at the Stadium of Light has been disrupted, everyone can see that he is intent on bringing a more attractive style of football to the club. His Bristol City side were pleasing to watch, meaning there should be more opportunities for the attackers, highlighting the importance of the number nine.
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Recent postponements mean that Sunderland are going to have a ridiculously busy end to the season. The games will come thick and fast, and it will be a case of the team grinding out wins as they look to build momentum.
To do that, you need a goalscorer. When the match is tight, and you aren’t playing at your best, that clinical striker makes the difference. Right now, Johnson doesn’t have one of those. So, whilst January is never the best time to make crucial signings, it’s clear that Sunderland need at least one major recruit up top.
With a new owner coming in, and Johnson looking to make his mark, it could be the start of a bright new period for Sunderland. But, if they are to get off to the best possible start, solving the striker problem has to be the priority in the next few weeks.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.