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Roker Roundtable: How can Sunderland replace Ellis Simms if he doesn’t return this month?

With Simms back at Goodison Park after being recalled by Everton, we need to find an adequate replacement on the basis that he doesn’t return, so what kind of centre forward should we be looking for?

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Phil West says…

Fundamentally, I think we need to be targeting a striker in a similar mould to Simms - young, with plenty of potential, a good level of physicality as well as an eye for goal.

Simms wasn’t as dynamic and as much of an all-rounder as Ross Stewart, but he took his chances when they came and I felt that our style of play really suited him well.

If we can bring in a physically dominant central striker to complement Stewart (just as Simms did when they played together) I think we’ll be in excellent shape.

The other option would be to go for a nippy and agile striker who could make darting runs in behind and finish chances when they come, but now that a move for Nathan Broadhead appears to be a non-starter, I suspect they’ll opt for a like-for-like replacement for Simms as opposed to looking for something different.

Sam Surridge is a name that we’ve been linked with in recent days, and I think he would fit the bill nicely. His goalscoring record is quite strong and from what we’ve heard from Nottingham Forest fans, he’s got all of the attributes that we are looking for.

Given how crazy and unpredictable this window often is, I wouldn’t be surprised if Simms ends up returning to Wearside before the end of the window, assuming Everton bring in attacking reinforcements of their own, but we need to be proactive and ensure that we’re not staking the entire window on one single player.

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Malc Dugdale says…

I’ll start by saying that I fully expect the data-driven model and the recruitment team to bring in players who are as good as or even better than Simms this month. The power is in our hands not in the hands of the potential players, which is how it should be.

Our success rate since the current structure took shape has been a cut above the past, and our former habit of signing players who were past their best but willing to come for an easy paycheque are history.

If we can complement Ross Stewart with a couple of decent options and Simms is still an option later this month, I’d be happy to take him in addition to others.

The main reason for that is while any nee signings get fully fit and up to speed with our tactics, Simms could keep scoring and providing support for Stewart.

What I don’t want is another Nathan Broadhead situation, where we bank on something happening, we don’t bring anyone else in, and for some reason (like too much decent competition coming in before the assumed signing) that falls through.

Simms could well stay at Everton despite Sunderland being his only other option if he sees a raft of quality come here before him. But if he does want to play footy and isn’t too bothered about being classed as a “premier league player “ (however bit part that may be) he would be mad not to come back unless he is convinced Everton will play him enough to warrant him being there.

The fly in the ointment for me is a potential change in head coach at the Toffees.

If Frank Lampard goes, both the interim and new coach will likely keep their options open, and I doubt whether Lampard will last the weekend. Therefore, I think it’ll be more of a managerial roundabout on Merseyside that determines Simms’ future, rather than any decision we make.

I’m just pleased that the managerial ‘revolving door’ situation is not an issue for us in this window.

The recruitment team should do their jobs as usual, if Simms comes back, let’s make sure he’s as an additional option, rather than our only one.

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