This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sunderland host Tranmere tonight, with Phil Parkinson’s side looking to the first win of his tenure, following the defeat to Wycombe Wanderers at the weekend, a result that left the Black Cats down in 10th spot in League One.
Ahead of the match tonight, Parkinson has a decision to make with first choice striker Charlie Wyke sidelined with ankle ligament damage which he sustained in the weekend defeat.
So who should Sunderland start up-front following the loss of Wyke?
“Given that Sunderland have only managed to score 16 goals in 12 league games this season, it is imperative that manager Phil Parkinson finds a solution to this particular issue.
“Whilst Charlie Wyke is set to miss tonight’s clash with Tranmere Rovers due to injury, the Black Cats could turn to Marc McNulty for inspiration at the Stadium of Light.
“Although the forward has only managed to score four goals for the club during the current campaign, he is arguably a better option that Will Grigg who has yet to open his account in League One this year.
“Providing that McNulty can make a fast start against Tranmere, he could help his side secure a much-needed victory in front of their own supporters.”
“This is a tough call.
“In all honesty, none of Sunderland’s strikers have exactly covered themselves in glory in League One this season, which doesn’t make things easy for Parkinson here.
“Given it was Will Grigg who replaced Wyke on Wycombe on Saturday, it may well be him that is in pole position to take on that role on a more regular basis.
“Given he is the one they invested big on in January, it would make sense for Sunderland to try and get their money’s worth out of Grigg, although that in itself could be something of a risk, given how he has struggled to really fire ever since he arrived at the Stadium of Light.”
Will the injury to striker Charlie Wyke be a big loss for Sunderland?
“Charlie Wyke being injured is a big blow for Phil Parkinson, but it offers opportunity and I think this could work out in their favour in the long run.
“Marc McNulty has so much quality at this level and is able to link the play excellently. He would be a very good replacement and in all truth probably finds himself hard done by to playing so little so far this season.
“McNulty is the type of player that the Black Cats are missing as they have looked so short on creativity and any potential star to go out and win the game for themselves. He is a different option to someone like Wyke and Will Grigg and at this moment in time is someone who is definitely worth a go.
“His record speaks for itself in the lower divisions and if they can give McNulty a run of games he is guaranteed to score a few goals for what still is a strong Sunderland side.”