Sunderland drew yet another blank in front of a desolate Stadium of Light crowd after they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday evening.
Daryl Murphy’s 86th minute strike was without rebuttal and the prerequisite football was so drab it was never likely to produce a blemish on the scoresheet, despite Forest’s perpetually nervy back-line.
The ex-Sunderland (and more recently Newcastle) man’s finish meant his former club suffered a fourth successive Championship defeat and an underwhelming goals for record having scored just six times, half of those coming in the solitary win at Norwich.
Perhaps even more worryingly for Simon Grayson, Lewis Grabban hobbled off just before half time clutching his hamstring, leaving the already under pressure boss with James Vaughan assembling the form of their only fit senior striker, doing nothing to refute the widely held opinion that Sunderland are vastly bare in this department.
Chairman Ellis Short has siphoned what transfer revenue was made to pay off the debts that have mounted during his tenure at the club, or so it appears on the surface.
Grayson won’t have an abundance of cash in January either and whether or not that is the case, they may not be able to hang on until January to boost the forward line of a side who look in dire straits even at this stage.
Like it or not, Sunderland may have to look to a free agent.
Rickie Lambert, who endured a difficult spell at Cardiff last season, is currently unattached and an experienced head who will bring much needed composure to a team who currently possess the stature of a horde of mice.
Although on a downward trajectory since his dream move to Liverpool in 2014, Lambert managed 4 in 18 appearances in the Championship last season, a record which matches favourably with the misfiring James Vaughan.
He may be in the twilight years of his career at 35, but beggars can’t be choosers, and Sunderland are going to have to beg, borrow or steal goals from somewhere, because there is certainly little quantity in the current personnel.