Sunderland’s striker crisis has potential to deepen this week as Simon Grayson’s men play two testing games in the next seven days, with just one senior frontman available - and he is a single yellow card away from a suspension.
James Vaughan’s account opener at Hull was marred somewhat by two counts, first by former Black Cat David Meyler’s equaliser and before that, a yellow card shown to the clearly relieved Sunderland goalscorer for his over enthusiastic celebrations.
Vaughan has already clocked up sufficient bookings to be now just one yellow away from a ban and his picking up of the corner flag in response to banishing his goalless opening at Sunderland again hints at the lack of nous in the Black Cats ranks.
Whilst Sunderland may be privately bemoaning their luck of late with ‘surely certain’ goals whistling past posts and otherwise decent displays marred by single point-dropping mistakes, Simon Grayson must instill some ruthlessness into his side and enable a certain broadening of his men’s footballing intelligence.
The Championship campaign is a long one and for a second-choice striker - who has been propelled into the leading man limelight - to be facing a ban by mid-September is some going.
Regardless, Sunderland travel to Goodison Park on Wednesday with an eye on next weekend’s visit from one of the league’s early pace setters - Cardiff City.
With Lewis Grabban out for a few weeks and the returning Duncan Watmore unlikely to feature in the first team much before him, Vaughan simply must be available to play next Saturday.
The fact that Sunderland face a striker crisis the moment one of their senior front men is out injured is remarkable of course, but we’ve already wasted column inches bemoaning the short-sighted nature of the club’s head-in-the-sand transfer policy. And no one is listening anyway.
So it looks like Grayson will be making do with what he has up front until January, though transfer stories are already nominating more defenders for the Black Cats boss to take a look at.
The Sun gossip-master Alan Nixon yesterday claimed Blackburn Rovers centre-back Charlie Mulgrew is being watched by the Black Cats ahead of a January swoop.
The 31-year-old fits into Grayson’s apparent preferred age-range and would continue the upwards march of his squad’s average age.
Mulgrew has 40 career goals to his name in nigh-on 280 appearances due to being utilised in a variety of positions, including midfield and full-back, and the 6ft 3in Scottish international possesses a mean left foot - and can take a decent free kick.
The Glaswegian rose through the ranks at Celtic before making a loan move to Dundee United from where he was picked up by Wolverhampton Wanderers. No breakthrough into first team football followed at Molineux before Mulgrew headed back north of the border to join Aberdeen, stopping off for a short stint at Southend first.
Mulgrew scored ten goals in 80 appearances for the Dons before finally returning to Celtic to become a regular under Neil Lennon. After six years at Parkhead, he headed back south signing for Blackburn with his first goal coming in a 1-0 win against the Mags at St James Park.
Sheffield Wednesday supposedly had a bid of £100,000 rejected by Blackburn for Mulgrew in the summer so he may fit into Grayson’s budget for the next transfer window.
Hunting for a centre-back may be a hint that Sunderland are prepared to try selling Lamine Kone again in January. The Ivorian failed to land a move away from the Stadium of Light this summer as he bids to restore his tarnished reputation in the Championship.