Sunderland’s turnaround under Phil Parkinson has been nothing short of sensational.
A string of seven clean sheets from eight matches has also occurred, but if there was one criticism, it would be a lack of goals from their strikers.
Charlie Wyke has only four all season, scoring one in his prior seven outings, while Kyle Lafferty has yet to find the back of the net.
With Will Grigg misfiring too – he has three all campaign – there is a clear need for someone who can score on a regular basis.
Could Liam Boyce have been that man? We will never know. However, he was a player on Sunderland’s radar in January.
Commenting on the interest, Phil Parkinson noted: “He’s a good player, has scored goals at this level, but he’s under contract so it’s a difficult one for me to speak about.”
However, his form so far in Scotland is showing signs of why the Black Cats should have splashed the cash. After all, owner Stewart Donald admitted at the start of the year that he’d make sufficient funds available for Parkinson.
In large, the decision not to spend has paid off, but there should still be regrets about bringing in Lafferty over Boyce. Once the former had arrived at the Stadium of Light they ruled out a move for the former who has so far been excellent at Hearts.
In six games in all competitions, the 28-year-old has contributed to five goals. He scored and assisted on his debut, before doing the exact same in his next outing.
Boyce has proven to be a menace, being fouled nine times in just five league outings, proving that his expensive wages are indeed worth it. The striker had scored 14 goals for Burton this season so the talent was obviously there. Sunderland, though, failed to gamble.
Speaking about the signing when it happened, Stendel commented: “He can create chances alone and he can be ruthless in the box to win his duels with his body and score easy goals, and not so easy goals.”
Considering the tallies of some of Sunderland’s current strikes, that ruthless streak is something the Black Cats could do with.
As they look to achieve promotion, it could end up being something they regret.