Charlie Wyke missed Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Gillingham, but according to Phil Parkinson he may not be out for long.
The striker has started Sunderland’s last 16 games prior to Saturday but he surprisingly wasn’t missed as his replacement Kyle Lafferty scored twice to put his side in a winning position.
Phil Parkinson revealed ahead of the fixture against Rovers that the 27-year-old is suffering from an issue with his back, but suggested that he may be in contention to play on Tuesday after having an injection.
He stressed that the issue got progressively worse last week, hence his exclusion at the weekend, with Parkinson admitting that he was happy to rest Wyke due to the availability of Kyle Lafferty and Will Grigg.
As mentioned, Parkinson has placed a great deal of trust in Wyke of late and could therefore be eager to name him in the starting line-up even if he is not fully fit.
That would be a mistake given what Lafferty offers, as the two goals show he is both effective in the air and in running behind the defence to score.
His natural finishing ability was displayed against the Gills and he seems to be more adept in that capacity that Wyke, who missed chances against Coventry and has scored just five goals in 26 league games this term.
That means he deserves to start against the Gas, and if he impresses once more than there is no reason why he shouldn’t start more regularly.
However, Wyke does work well with Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire. Sunderland’s form over the last few months is evidence of that, with the pair also winning the January and February Sunderland Player of the Month award.
As a result, Parkinson could be tempted to start both up-front together, particularly against teams who are likely to sit back and defend, but that would risk losing the rhythm and understanding that has built up from utilising a 3-4-3 formation over the last few weeks.
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