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 are facing a nervous wait to find out the extent of Charlie Wyke’s injury, after the forward missed their recent win over Plymouth Argyle.
The Black Cats forward has been in hugely impressive form this season for Lee Johnson’s side, with the 28-year-old having 29 goals to his name from his 50 appearances in all competitions.
But Johnson revealed in a recent post-match press conference that Wyke missed their recent match due to a thigh injury, which he’s hoping isn’t too serious.
“We hope it’s not serious for Charlie.
“First and foremost, it’s a thigh problem, and we hope it’s just a superficial tear rather than in the belly of the muscle.”
Sunderland will be targeting promotion into the Championship via the play-offs,
But could Sunderland win promotion this season, even if Wyke was to be ruled out of action for the remainder of this year’s campaign?
I do still think they would have a chance of pulling it off.
Obviously losing someone with the goalscoring form that Wyke has produced across the course of the campaign will be a big blow for Sunderland, at a time when they need it most.
However, no club should solely being relying on one man to get them promoted, and there are still other players in that squad who on their day, are capable of making the impact required to help the club to promotion through the play-offs, Aiden McGeady being one who immediately springs to mind in that regard.
Indeed, with Ross Stewart getting himself another goal in Saturday’s win at Plymouth, he may well have the confidence and momentum to fill Wyke’s shoes come the play-offs, meaning I don’t think all will necessarily be lost simply if Wyke is unavailable for those promotion deciders.
Sunderland’s chances of winning the play-offs would certainly take a major hit if Charlie Wyke is to be ruled out of action for them. The forward is a proven match-winner for them and a key part of the way they like to play under Lee Johnson.
However, there are still other options for them to call upon. A lot of pressure would be placed onto the shoulders of Ross Stewart and the Black Cats would need him to be able to start firing for them having now had the time to bed into the squad.
The Black Cats would have to potentially look to other areas for some of their goals and they will need to see the likes of Lynden Gooch, Chris Maguire and Aiden O’Brien to step up to the plate. That is possible, with those players all having the potential to weigh in with vital goals.
Wyke’s absence would hand an advantage to some of the other sides they are facing in the play-offs, but Sunderland should still have enough in their squad to win the play-offs if they are at their best.
Does the Stadium of Light have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
I do fear for them if Wyke is to be ruled out of action for the play-offs.
He’s been brilliant for Lee Johnson’s side this season, and would leave a sizeable void in the Sunderland team, as they target promotion into the Championship.
Sunderland have shown that they can cope against some teams without Wyke this season, with Saturday’s win over Plymouth Argyle being an example of that.
The Black Cats need Wyke in their squad for matches against their promotion-chasing rivals, and the Stadium of Light faithful will be keeping their fingers crossed that he’ll be fit in time for the play-offs.