This article is part of Football FanCast’s Loan Watch series, which takes a closer look at those players who are aiming to galvanise their careers away from the spotlight of their parent club.
Sunderland have struggled for form since Phil Parkinson took over and a big factor has been the decline in the performance of the midfield.
Jack Ross attempted to strengthen that area of the squad with the signing of George Dobson last summer, but the team looks bereft of leadership in the middle since Lee Cattermole left, and that should cause concern for the new boss.
Neither Dobson nor Max Power have offered enough to the side, and looking at their stats it is little surprise that the Black Cats have struggled for goals in the last few weeks.
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Sunderland have scored more than one goal in just one game under Parkinson, and the most recent match against Gillingham suggests there is unlikely to be an improvement any time soon.
They registered just five shots all game – none on target – and though it is an area the club could look to improve upon in January with new recruits, another option they should consider is Ethan Robson.
The 23-year-old has had a taste of first-team action previously at the Stadium of Light, but his 14 appearances mean he is still inexperienced, and therefore he could take some time to adjust to playing regularly.
However, he seems to be enjoying life out on loan at Grimsby currently, and the goalscoring aspect of his game could be of huge benefit to Parkinson.
Robson has scored three goals in seven league games from midfield and if he can add to the creative threat he poses – with just one assist so far – then he would provide an attacking threat from deep that the side lacks.
He is, therefore, a useful option for Parkinson, and since his loan is up in January he could slot into the side and allow funds to be focused on other areas of the squad.
Former Grimsby manager Michael Jolley stated that he has had a “terrific” impact since arriving at Blundell Park, and if Parkinson allows him the same freedom and offers the same encouragement then he could begin to flourish in the north-east.