Q: Do you have confidence that Sunderland’s strikers will score goals between now and the end of the season? Wyke missed some simple chances yesterday, and whilst Grigg is giving some all-round good performances he’s got one goal in five games, which came from the penalty spot. Any concern there at all, or are we fairly confident?
Craig Davies says...
Ok. So Grigg has 1 goal in 5 appearances and Wyke - thus far - appears as useful as a concrete parachute. Perhaps, on the surface at least, I should panic in concern or buckle to the naysayers who fear we are too goal shy or mourn to heavily the loss of Maja. But in a bizarre turn of events, I feel reasonably confident in our senior front two.
Not necessarily from what they’ve show in recent matches, but their joint histories paint a picture that should not have us fumbling anxiously for the ejector seat quite yet.
Wyke’s had a long layoff through injury and serious injuries have both a physical and mental impact on certain players. Often they play within themselves, subconsciously worrying too much about the next badly timed tackle or niggly, unexplained pain. This impacts on confidence and performance.
What won’t help Wyke are crowd infused calls for his head at every missed opportunity. If we can help restore his confidence rather than inhibit it further, then the guillotine can be firmly removed from the SOL and a fiery, competitive target man with a record of decent goal hauls in the lower leagues will emerge as the man we thought we’d signed last summer. It can happen for Charlie and we can help facilitate his reemergence.
As for Grigg, he’s just bedding in. He’s working out the nuances of our tactical play, the style of his teammates and coming to grips with a new home, new surroundings and new workplace.
No one can perform at their best when so much of their lives is up in the air after a quick fire move on the last minute of deadline day. Can you imagine putting your kids to bed at night, then receiving a call from your boss saying he’s selling you to a competitor 150 miles away and you’ve got to be there tomorrow morning. No goodbyes to colleagues or support staff. No time to think about selling your home or your kids schooling. Just boom. It’s done.
I don’t always consider the human side of professional football and perhaps some footballers can work like high functions machines regardless, but I’ll give Grigg the benefit of the doubt, as I’m certain we’ve got a very handy League One striker on our hands. His record at this level is there for all to see.
I’m not saying it’s a given. I’m not saying it will be a walk on the park. But I’m confident they can work and play themselves into being an effective strike force for us in the latter half of the season.
But hey, for one moment in my naive and innocent youth, I momentarily thought Ricardo may turn out to be the more effective Gabbiadini. I don’t always get it right. But I’m optimistic that I’m this occasion I might be.
Mark Carrick says...
I honesty think we have two excellent strikers who know League One well. I realise that’s a statement a few people who would disagree based on recent performances, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered.
Charlie Wyke was Sunderland’s no.1 target in the summer. Such was the depth of intent that the club pushed through a deal for the striker whilst injured.
Taking time to settle into new surroundings is one thing, but to do that in the relative isolation of recovery isn’t easy. Coming into the side and picking up another serious injury would not have helped his physical or mental state.
In his absence, Josh Maja won a lot of plaudits and rightly so. His loss in January had fans clamouring for a new signing. Wyke was trying to establish himself into a new team, a new style of play for him, and knowing his place was immediately under threat. Trying too hard maybe was a problem in a few games for Charlie.
What he needs is to play his natural game. Not snatch at chances like those that came his way on Saturday. He needs to feel part of the group and an important part. Ross will do that but the fans play a big part in encouraging the lad.
If Wyke’s issue may be confidence related, Grigg’s is simply settling in. Having a goal under his belt early, like Charlie before him, will help ease him into the group and the club.
Again, fans simply need to be patient and encouraging as the team find the best formations and tactics to get the best from Will Grigg.
Both our strikers are a League One manager’s dream, on paper. Form is temporary but class is permanent. And both these lads have a record to prove their quality.
I, for one, think both will come good with a little patience and support.
Jack Ford says...
Honestly, I’m not too confident at all that we’ll suddenly see a glut of goals from either of our strikers.
Will Grigg clearly has it in him to be a superstar at this level, and even Wyke has been a consistent double digit striker in the lower leagues, but clearly these are players that need more chances than someone like Jermaine Defoe to score the same amount of goals.
As it stands, that’s something we’re simply not providing.
Against Bristol Rovers, we didn’t create a single chance from open play until after Lewis Morgan came on around the 70th minute. Yes, we’ve suddenly become masters of set pieces from nowhere, and yes we won comfortably despite this, but how on earth can we expect our strikers to score bags of goals if we’re not making chances for them?
As it was, Wyke missed three beautiful opportunities handed to him by Morgan, and I think he might possibly be a lost cause for us at this point, but if I was Stewart Donald I’d be pulling my hair out at the fact that we broke the League One transfer record for a striker that isn’t getting a sniff at goal.
We need to play to our strikers’ strengths, and yesterday it seemed the complete opposite. We pumped long ball after long ball up to Grigg, then started playing well-crafted balls on the floor to Wyke. You have to think that if they’d swapped places, with Wyke starting and Grigg coming on in his place, we may well have seen a few more scored.
I have every faith in Grigg coming good, and some faith in Wyke proving to be at least a capable deputy, but Jack Ross needs to assess his set-up and look to create far more chances for whoever is playing up front for us, because we really should have the quality to create more than we do from open play.