Sunderland have been linked with a loan move for Rangers’ Greg Docherty in recent days and adding a midfielder could provide Phil Parkinson with an array of options.
Despite their recent progress Sunderland had fallen into a spiral as they dropped to mid-table in League One, and one of the primary reasons for that was the underperformance of their midfield.
Docherty has proved himself capable in the attacking domain with 10 goals and 11 games on loan at Shrewsbury in the last campaign. Better still, he did it in League One.
Steven Gerrard has praised his attitude too and if he shows a determination to succeed at the Black Cats it will not be surprising if he quickly becomes an important player, and there could be multiple positives to signing the 23-year-old.
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The problem for Parkinson in his reign so far has been a lack of strength in depth in several areas of his squad, but it has hit hardest in midfield.
Despite Power and Dobson often not hitting the heights expected of them it has been difficult for the Black Cats boss to drop them, as he only had Grant Leadbitter and Dylan McGeouch to call upon, with the latter now having left for Aberdeen.
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That duo have achieved respective WhoScored average ratings of 6.7 and 6.4, which underlines the issue, but the addition of Docherty means the opportunity for greater rotation, and better competition for places which could lead to improvement from each midfielder.
If that occurs, and Parkinson has a selection headache as to who should take up a place in the two-man midfield, then Sunderland have the option to switch their formation and move away from the five-at-the-back system for a more expansive option.
Playing three in midfield in a 4-3-3 style is a system Parkinson has attempted to utilise before, though that had limited success – possibly because of the personnel available.
A more attacking formation could help to solve the problem of a lack of goals and allow the north-east outfit to dominate games with greater effectiveness in the second half of the campaign, and that could prove particularly crucial away from home, where Sunderland have won just three games out of 11 this year.
Meanwhile, our team of Football Fancast writers have delivered their verdicts on whether Sunderland are targeting a 27-year-old international is the right move to make…