Sunderland were hit with an irritating injury blow, with Sky Sports’ Keith Downie confirming that Charlie Wyke is facing up to 5-6 weeks on the sidelines with an ankle ligament injury.
Wyke has struggled for goals this season, and his injury capped off a miserable start to life in charge of the Black Cats for Phil Parkinson after his side were beaten by Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
The former Bradford City striker was replaced by Will Grigg on the day, although the 28-year-old was unable to make a notable impact in front of goal for Sunderland as they slipped further away from the promotion-chasing pack in League One.
In a recent press conference (quotes sourced from the Northern Echo) ahead of their game against Tranmere Rovers, Parkinson has been impressed with what he has seen from the Northern Irishman in his brief appearance at the weekend.
“I’ve looked at Will in training and I think he looks bright. I thought he worked really hard when he came off the bench at the weekend, and he was very unlucky with a cross that was whipped in and he was inches away from connecting with it to score.”
Grigg hit 19 league goals for Wigan Athletic in the 2017/18 season when they won promotion into the Championship, and he’ll be keen to get off the mark in the league at the earliest of opportunities.
Parkinson went on to reveal that Grigg hasn’t been pleased with his performances, but is confident that he’ll recapture his best run of form in front of goal in the near future.
“I felt the supporters warmed to his performance. They were right behind him, and my job and the team’s job is to supply him with the chances because, in his career, he’s proved that if you do that, he takes a large percentage of them.
“That’s what we’re going to endeavour to do. He really wants to do well. He’s a good lad, he’s a little bit frustrated in himself, but also I think we can do more to help him as well.”
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The former Bolton Wanderers boss went on to outline his attributes going forward for the Black Cats, and insists that it’s tough being a striker at times, especially when goals aren’t a regular occurrence.
“His movement is terrific, especially inside the box, and even in training, you can see his calmness when he gets chances is excellent. All strikers have to be brave enough to get in there.
“You might miss a few, but if you keep getting in there, you might toe one in, and if you do that in the 90th minute to win a game of football, you’re a hero. That’s the life of a striker.”
Sunderland will be hoping to move back into play-off contention at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday against Tranmere, and Grigg will be hoping to make a significant contribution to Parkinson’s side on the night in Wyke’s absence.
He just needs a couple of goals to regain his confidence for Sunderland I think.
We all know that Grigg can score goals, especially at this level, so I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s firing them up the League One table.
He’ll be given a consistent run in the team now that Charlie Wyke is out injured, which could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Grigg, as he looks to find his best form in front of goal in the near future.