Sunderland missed their main striker on Saturday but that was the least of their concerns as Kyle Lafferty scored twice in his place. Instead, it was in defence where the Black Cats faltered most with two goals conceded.
Charlie Wyke was missing against Gillingham due to a problem with his back but he could be in contention to start against Bristol Rovers today, according to the club.
Supporters aren’t too keen on seeing the 27-year-old return, and given his lack of goals, with five in 26 league games this term, it is easy to see why that sentiment exists.
Hopefully he comes out with 2 new legs and a new head
— Gary Eden (@GaryEden4) March 9, 2020
The reaction from the fan above is harsh considering what Wyke offers outside of goalscoring.
He is a great physical presence for his teammates to hit in or around the penalty area, averaging 4.2 aerial duels won per game, and has brought the best out of 10-goal Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire, who has achieved a WhoScored rating of 7.3 or above in his previous four matches.
That is why Parkinson may be tempted to recall him to the side, but since Lafferty proved more effective in front of goal, while also winning five aerial duels, it is probably right for him to retain his place in the team.
Just don’t risk him lads… don’t drop a striker that’s just scored 2….
— Nick (@nicholaswilso11) March 9, 2020
Still injured 🙏🏽 Lafferty our number 1 🔴⚪️❤️
— Rob (@HillWalker70) March 9, 2020
Will be so frustrated if he starts tommorow, Lafferty offered us so much on Saturday, held the ball well, took his chances & won the ball in the air, everything a false 9 should be doing AND MORE. We held onto that win we would of been talking about his performance, not the loss. https://t.co/DpfAxQvpeY
— Connor Gardner (@ConnorGardner) March 9, 2020
Although Wyke coming back into the fray disrupts things a little it should be greeted as a positive by both the fans and Parkinson, as in the first half of the season the Black Cats were dependent on Will Grigg or Marc McNulty to start up front for a time, and that pair managed a combined three goals in 34 league games.
Some supporters understand that the team is in a better place now, and the reactions below show a more positive mindset in regard to Wyke’s comeback.
Hope he can play
— Kevin Legg (@KevinLegg19) March 10, 2020
The lads an honest grafter and more often than not he’s got two defenders on him.
— Ian Price (@Pricenator) March 9, 2020
Anyone who dares to say anything like “hope he misses out” isn’t a true Sunderland fan. He isn’t the best goal scorer but he’s a handful for defenders and brings Gooch and Maguire into the game.
— Jake (@Jake71121606) March 9, 2020
Many supporters have also been busy discussing a player they were impressed with who could prove vital in the promotion run-in…