Sunderland forward Nathan Broadhead has suggested that he is determined to try and force his way into Lee Johnson’s starting line-up in League One following his impact in the League Cup in midweek.
Broadhead has had to wait for his chance to impress in League One for Sunderland this season, as the form of Ross Stewart has meant that Johnson has not yet been able to hand the Everton loanee a start for the Black Cats in the English third tier.
The 23-year-old though has been given chances to impress in the League Cup. That has seen Broadhead start both the win at Blackpool and also against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.
Against Wigan, Broadhead managed to open his account for the Black Cats with the forward producing a calm finish after drifting inside from the left-hand side of the penalty area.
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That showed the type of quality that the 23-year-old can bring to the table for the Black Cats, but with Stewart having already registered five league goals it is still going to be a challenge to get in the side.
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Speaking to the Northern Echo, Broadhead insisted that he wants to challenge Stewart for his place up front. He also revealed that he would more than comfortable operating alongside the forward, as a number ten or in a wide role.
He said: “I would say challenge him (Stewart). I’d like to work with him.
“He’s on fire at the moment and he’s a great player so I have to bide my time and maybe I can play up front with him one time but I respect the manager’s decision.
“I think we are different players. He’s taller than me obviously and more physical but I think we are different.
“I can play left wing, number 10, right wing as well.”
On what he has learned so far this campaign at the Stadium of Light he added: “I’m learning every game under the manager and how he wants to play.
“It’s physical and I need to get used to that more, trying to use my moment to try and get away from defenders.
“I haven’t had a ninety minutes since last season so I just need to use these games as fitness and try my best.
“You have to respect his decision and the lads are doing well so I have to bide my time, do well in training and try to get my fitness up to try and be sharp to help the team score goals.
“It is more physical and technical but you have to learn from every game if you are playing Under-23s you just have to try your best.”
These comments show that Broadhead is not content to just sit around on the bench all season at the Stadium of Light. That is the sort of attitude that he is going to have to maintain if he wants to force his way into the starting line-up.
The 23-year-old made a major step forwards in terms of his spell with Sunderland against Wigan and the way that he took his goal showed the quality that he can offer Johnson’s side in the final third.
You can understand why Johnson has been easing Broadhead into his loan spell with Sunderland. While it is also going to be very hard for him to drop one of Lynden Gooch, Aiden McGeady, Elliot Embleton, or Stewart for the forward.
Having said that, Broadhead is showing the right attitude and if he continues to plug away on the training ground and take his chances when they are handed to him, then there is no reason why he can’t force his way into the side.