Jon Guy says… Eliezer Mayenda
We’re still looking for a striker who can get fifteen goals this season.
Hemir and Mason Burstow are still learning their trade and while they’re clearly players with bright futures, when you look at the team, it’s vital we get a player who is banging the goals in as an out-and-out striker.
We’re blessed with talent throughout the side and there are goals from the midfield and the defence. However, we’re not currently in a situation where the opposition defence is questioning how they handle our main striker.
At this level, a second of indecision can be crucial.
We need a striker that is a handful and making the central defenders think, and I’m excited to see if Mayenda can add that spark.
Malc Dugdale says… Aji Alese
Although I’m really looking forward to seeing Mayenda for the first time, and seeing people like Jewison Bennette start to contribute again, the player I think I need to see the most of is Alese.
With Dennis Cirkin injured and Niall Huggins being taken off against Middlesbrough, we’re even more stretched at the back than we were before the loss and getting the reinforcements in to shore up the defence will be just as important as new blood up front.
We’re still scoring goals and we’d been keeping clean sheets, but the latter will be harder still without Huggins, who’s grown really well of late and will be gutted to have another niggle.
I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Timothée Pembélé, and with this being a long season, it’s likely that both old and new names will need to chip in.
Having Alese to help will be a massive boost, especially if he can return to the field after the international break.
Phil West says… Timothée Pembélé
Although I agree with Jon that Eliezer Mayenda is an exciting prospect and a player who can hopefully make a big contribution, the potential inclusion of Pembélé, who joined Sunderland from Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day, is equally intriguing and I’m eager to see how and where he fits into our team.
Even in the aftermath of Lynden Gooch’s departure, we remained quite well-stocked at full back, and with Trai Hume rediscovering his best form, Niall Huggins starting to put together a steady run of games (hopefully not to be ended by another injury) and Dennis Cirkin still to return, the depth we can boast when everyone is fully fit is quite impressive.
With that in mind, how Tony Mowbray phases Pembélé into the team will be fascinating.
It feels like he’ll start with brief cameos and gradually build up his minutes and hopefully his form as the games go by, which is absolutely fine.
The ethos at Sunderland nowadays is that you have to earn your place on merit, and despite Pembélé’s impressive pedigree from his days at the Parc des Princes, nothing will be handed to him on a plate, and hopefully he’ll embrace that challenge and set about making a strong case for selection once he’s fully fit and ready to go.
Gair says... all of them!
I’ve been desperate for young Jewison to get a chance to prove himself. Highly rated by everyone at the club, and in his International circles, the boy quite obviously has some raw talent there.
The problem we have now, is that Abdullah and Jack Clarke will take some ousting from their positions, and Patrick Roberts is already the backup for his position, so I feel if he’s going to get a chance, it won’t be in his preferred position as winger. He’s young though, and you’d hope with that youth would come adaptability and a hunger to play football regardless of position.
Big Jay Matete offers something very Ekwah in midfield, he may not be as good with the ball at his feet, but he’s certainly a big, imposing footballer. I’d like to see him get a few games under Mowbray.
Also, as earlier mentioned by the people above me, Cirkin and Huggins are knacked, so the quicker Aji gets back, the better!