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Bristol City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: Do Sunderland need more attacking options in order to compete this season?

After failing to secure a deal for Nathan Broadhead, we still have a wealth of talented attackers at our disposal. We asked our panel if more firepower is needed

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Scott Young says…

I think we need bodies up top, and ideally someone who can play out wide and up front when needed.

That seems to be the most logical target, considering Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms will have the lion’s share of game time.

It is obvious that we currently lack firepower from the bench, and it is important to have options, especially when you need to change a game. In the opening fixture, we saw what Coventry were able to do by bringing on quality players from the bench.

An extra player will add versatility to the forward and wide areas, but it is unclear as to whether this will be a loan or a permanent addition.

Regardless of who we might be targeting, I would be concerned if we were relying on our current crop of forward options, because we are just an injury away from a difficult situation.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Sam Quigley says…

With Nathan Broadhead now officially confirmed as a Wigan player, Sunderland can finally move on from what has been a fairly drawn-out transfer saga.

Ellis Simms smashed in two goals at the weekend, and the fans found themselves wondering if we even needed Broadhead to come back.

Nevertheless, I still believe that we need that third utility player. Someone who can play anywhere across the top four, and to provide cover in case of injuries or suspensions.

We’ve been fortunate with Ross Stewart, and his injury record is excellent, but we need a third forward as a rotation option, in order to cover all bases.

Bristol City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says…

Absolutely we do!

I have to say that if I was Broadhead and I watched a debut performance like the one Ellis Simms turned in, I’d be tempted to head elsewhere, too.

Not only did he score two goals, he complimented Stewart very well, so from the full time whistle I was increasingly doubtful that Broadhead would still sign. He has had injury issues, and he would likely be a ‘third wheel’ even if he was fit, unless the stars aligned perfectly with what he offers.

That leads me to the kind of player we should sign.

We need someone who is willing to battle for their place and who can add variety to our attack. Maybe this could be someone young and hungry, and who backs themselves to take their chances, be that in the cup competitions or filling an injury gap in the league.

We have a fair bit of experience and youth in the team, so I’m not entirely convinced that it needs to be someone younger or older. It is more about bringing in something different to what we have already.

I wish Broadhead well, and I thank him for last season, but I will be eagerly watching for a picture of a new striker with a scarf above their head.

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Andrew Parrington says…

I’m feeling a lot calmer about this than I would have done had Ellis Simms not scored a brace at the weekend.

There’s always a strong attraction to players who performed well for us in a promotion season, and I do think it’s a shame that he’s not coming back for a repeat performance.

We definitely need depth up front, because if Simms or Ross Stewart were to suffer injuries, which isn’t unlikely over the course of the season, we would be in trouble.

Let’s hope this gives the club a chance to look elsewhere. Fighting for a place during this huge season for Sunderland should be the kind of challenge that any young, ambitious forward would relish.

Bristol City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Paddy Hayes says…

World Cup aspirations would undoubtedly have played a part in Broadhead’s thinking,

Regular game time at club level would almost guarantee him a place in the Wales squad, but it is simply not something we could have offered him.

As for where we go now, Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms seem to be a similar kind of striker, so perhaps a player who, slightly infuriatingly, is more akin to Broadhead would be the answer. Real pace, clinical in front of goal, and who can slot in on either wing.

Ultimately, after Simms and Stewart seemed to hit it off on the weekend, procuring the services of another striker or winger may prove a tall order.

It may be the case we have to drop into League One or even League Two to find a player willing to take a punt and experience a season of competing for infrequent game time.

On the other hand, most young forwards from the lower leagues would jump at the opportunity to play Championship football.

Germany U21 v Wales U21 - UEFA Euro Under 21 Qualifier Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says…

Without getting too stuck in the mud on Broadhead, whilst it’s disappointing it’s also not a big deal.

With no disrespect to Wigan, moving on loan at the age of twenty-four to a team who (in my admittedly biased opinion) will find things more difficult than us, with no guaranteed contract at the end of it seems somewhat short of ambition and self-belief.

In relation to Sunderland, this leaves us in the same place we were last week, and that’s at least one man short.

The knock-on effect is if we panic or not, in order to satisfy the notion of needing another player, but with more pressing issues at full-back and in midfield, a third-choice striker shouldn’t be at the top of the agenda just yet.

Recruiting anyone on that basis will be incredibly difficult and potentially costly, and should we not manage to lure anyone in, we do have options elsewhere.

A promising peripheral figure last season, Leon Dajaku has seemingly found himself without a place or position in the side, so a lack of incomings may present him with an opportunity to fill the void.

Aside from shoehorning in players, we still have enough firepower to do reasonably well in this division. though that may mean using Ellis Simms and Ross Stewart in complimentary style, rather than in tandem.

Time will tell, but for now, Sunderland should have no reason to panic, until January at least.

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