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‘A team full of Jonny Walters gets you out of a relegation battle’; striker set for Sunderland?

Jon Walters is being tipped to join Sunderland on loan for the rest of the season - but is he what the struggling Black Cats need right now?

Republic of Ireland v Serbia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

James Vaughan could possibly complete his move from Sunderland to Wigan as early as this weekend, leaving Chris Coleman’s side in desperate need of reinforcements up front.

It’s of our belief that the forward completed a medical with the Latics yesterday, and the deal is expected to be a permanent one.

The Black Cats make the furthest away trip of the season to face third-placed Cardiff City in Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off. Potentially teenager Josh Maja is the only viable option to play up front without a new signing being announced in the next few hours.

However, the cavalry may be arriving with Republic of Ireland international Jon Walters tipped to sign for Sunderland until the end of the season.

If Vaughan does depart for the League One leaders it will end a disappointing spell in the Championship, with the ex-Everton man notching just two goals from 23 appearances. Sunderland are likely to wait until a replacement is announced before confirming his departure, however.

2017 EFL Championship Football Sheffield United v Sunderland Dec 26th
James Vaughan practices his moves against Sheffield United
Photo by Mark Cosgrove/Action Plus via Getty Images

Jon Walters joined Burnley in the summer after seven years with Stoke but has only made three appearances in the Premier League since. The 34-year-old linked up with Sean Dyche’s outfit in a £3m deal, signing a two-year contract, but a lengthy knee injury has curtailed his season. The holder of over 50 caps for his country returned to fitness at Christmas time.

But with just three goals in their last six outings, is the veteran striker really going to transform Sunderland’s attack? We bagged Stoke City podcasters and Potteries experts WizardsOfDrivel to get the crack.

On how Stoke supporters view Walters since his departure...

Modern hero. Walters has been a vital part of our recent history, combining a superb work rate with some massively important goals for us including two at Wembley. There won’t be many Stoke fans with bad words to say about Super Jon. Whilst he didn’t have all the talent in the world, he mined every last ounce of it for us - he’s a manager’s dream.

I think any squad in a relegation battle could do with a team full of Jonny Walters. That said, when he left we did all think it was he right time, his legs were going a bit and we wanted a bit more spark and pace in the side. Alas, we haven’t seen much of that in his absence.

On Walters’ current frustrating stint at Burnley...

I thought Burnley were a perfect fit for him and if he was fit he’d have surely played a lot more. He suits their style of play down to the ground so it’s a massive shame for him that he hasn’t had the game time.

Burnley v Hannover 96 - Pre-Season Friendly
Walters in pre season with Burnley
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

On what Sunderland would get...

Work rate, physicality and energy. He can produce moments of quality every now and again, and he loves getting on the end of a cross. He’s a nightmare to defend against. Whilst not the tallest, he’s a big, bustling guy and should be a real challenge for a lot of Championship defenders.

On whether he can still cut it week in, week out...

I’d have said so at the start of the season but it remains to be seen if recent injuries have caught up with him. He used to be an ever-present in the Pulis years, playing in a hell of a lot of games. I hope so, as it’d be great to see him thrive.

Wales v Republic of Ireland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Pals with John
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The verdict...

Walters is exactly what Sunderland need right now and would bring professionalism and a bit of a bottle to a squad who have hidden in too many games this season. The veteran striker will prove a test for most Championship defences and should weigh in with a few goals.

Resting the mantle of firing Sunderland to safety solely on his ageing shoulders will be too risky however, and Chris Coleman will need to bring in another striker before the end of January; but Jon Walters will do for starters.

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