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Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland : Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: How well is Joe Gelhardt fitting in at Sunderland?

The on-loan Leeds striker has yet to get off the the mark for us, despite some encouraging early signs. We asked our writers for their thoughts on how ‘Joffy’ is settling in on Wearside

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Anthony Gair says…

He’s another one of those lads that needs to get up to speed before becoming a prized asset, and we’ve seen it multiple times in the past year or two.

Alex Pritchard, Jack Clarke, Patrick Roberts, Ellis Simms and Trai Hume are five players who started slowly and became very useful additions to the project we’re building here.

Gelhardt will do the same. You can see he has the football brain to get into attacking positions, and it’s just a matter of coaching the decisions he makes in the final third to suit the rest of the team.

I have all the faith in Tony Mowbray and the coaching team to make him the best he can be, and we can’t begin to judge him on the minuscule amount of game time he’s had here.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland : Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kingsley Reavley says…

Without wishing to sound pessimistic, I feel a few factors just seem to be working against Gelhardt, meaning it’s unlikely that his time at Sunderland is going to be a huge success.

Fitness-wise, he was only making sporadic appearances for Leeds and is now suddenly expected to play ninety minutes every three to four days. As such, he’s looked a little off the pace and not fully fit which is understandable.

Secondly, he has huge boots to fill in trying to replace our best player and talisman in Ross Stewart.

They possess an entirely different set of attributes and it’s taking time for the team to adapt. Crosses, long balls and aerial duals simply aren’t going to be as effective anymore, and as we’ve seen in several games, Championship defenders have been able to nullify Gelhardt quite easily.

Finally, we know that strikers feed off confidence and the longer he goes without a goal, the more it could suffer if the doubts start to creep in.

What I do have trust in is Tony Mowbray being the perfect coach to manage a delicate situation like this with his years of experience. If anyone can instill belief in a young player and get him firing it’s Mowbray!


Malc Dugdale says…

I think it’s a little early to judge Gelhardt and our situation is probably not helping him either.

He hadn’t played a lot of football for Leeds and probably hoped to build up his fitness and by coming on for Ross Stewart or other attack-minded players as a sub.

Instead of that, he’s been thrust into the spotlight as our only striking option due to Stewart’s injury, and that pressure along with his lack of match fitness and sharpness will be big reason why he hasn’t scored yet.

Over the last few games, he’s hit the woodwork and also provided an assist, so the understanding and attacking prowess is clearly coming.

I think he’ll do well and will get us at least seven to eight goals in the remaining games, but others need to know how to get the best from him as well as the other way around.

He isn’t an out-and-out number nine and he won’t score a raft of aerial goals given his height, but I do think he’ll contribute.

We need to get behind him rather than start doubting him to make that happen, as he is one of the very few attack options we have to use. He’s young and will be learning, soaking up experience and lessons like a sponge.

He’ll be OK and if he doesn’t score in the coming week, I’d be very surprised.

Sunderland v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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