Mark says: “We need another one in!”
Sunderland’s drawn out approach for Billy Sharp appears to have finally come to an end - the Sheffield United striker knocked on Chris Wilder’s door to say he wanted to stay at Bramall Lane, and Sharp duly scored in the next game.
The fact Sunderland maintained their pursuit of the veteran striker shows Jack Ross has a vacancy within the squad. The lack of striking options has meant Josh Maja has been unchallenged in the battle for the forward role. Two goals in two games may well justify the manager’s faith in the 19-year-old, but the lack of options is stark.
Charlie Wyke has been signed and given the number 9 shirt, but the former Bradford man is injured - something we knew when we pursed and signed him. Our other new forward, Jerome Sinclair, arrived on loan from Watford and performed well as a second-half substitute against Charlton. However, a clash of heads that required stitches and a damaged hamstring meant his cameo appearance has now put him out for 6 weeks.
Having three main forwards is perhaps enough in this league, if all were fit and healthy. All teams need back-up options and Sunderland are no different.
Duncan Watmore and youngster Andrew Nelson are the other forwards on our books. Watmore is coming back from another long injury and Nelson is an emerging talent. Unfortunately, he probably needs another loan-spell to aid his development, but at the moment he too is out injured.
Four forwards on the treatment table means we have to exploit the loan market before the month ends.
In terms of style Maja, Watmore and Sinclair are all fairly similar and only Wyke is an out-and-out striker. Having someone in the squad to provide a similar outlet would be an advantage in such a physical league as this.
Signing a forward that isn’t getting much game time in a Championship, or even Premier League, side is surely a must before September starts.
Gav: Signing another isn’t really that important!
On this week’s Roker Rapport Podcast we discussed at length the need for Sunderland to sign a new striker, and the case put forward by Phil Smith (football writer for the Sunderland Echo) was a very convincing one.
Phil said that he wasn’t convinced that we actually needed another striker, and that developing the young talent of another club at the expense of one of our own wouldn’t be particularly productive.
I have to admit that I agree - if the incoming striker isn’t going to sign on a permanent basis down the line or isn’t an experienced short-term option, I can’t really see the logic behind it.
Our immediate worries do perhaps cloud our judgement - we have just one fit out-and out striker in Josh Maja, and won’t have another back in the team until Charlie Wyke returns back from injury in a few weeks. We’re relying too heavily on Maja currently, but in a month or so it’ll all look loads different.
We’ll have Duncan Watmore and Jerome Sinclair back in the near future too, and since we only really play with one up front I don’t think it’d be the end of the world if we don’t sign someone.
I do think that we will, by the way, but I’m not one of those that things we absolutely must sign a striker between now and the end of the month.
Wyke will be first choice when fit and I don’t really see where we are going to fit everyone in if we add another striker to the roster we already have available to us this season.