Sunderland are back in League One action this weekend with a clash against Ipswich Town next up for the Black Cats after securing the top spot in Group F and a home tie in the next round of the Papa John’s Trophy with a 1-1 draw against Bradford City earlier in the month.
In terms of which players Sunderland manager Lee Johnson could pick in his starting XI to face Ipswich, one player that featured in the draw against Bradford that should be in the running for a starting place at the weekend is striker Nathan Broadhead.
Sunderland signed the striker back in August on a season-long loan deal from Premier League club Everton.
Since arriving at the Wearside club, the 23-year-old, who is currently valued at £450k according to Transfermarkt, has made just eight appearances for Sunderland across all competitions, starting just one of the five league games he’s appeared in.
During his time on the pitch against Bradford before being replaced by Will Harris in the second half, Broadhead not only managed to score Sunderland’s equalising goal, but he also managed to complete 17 of the 19 passes he attempted, win five out of the six duels he was involved in and make one tackle in the process, showing how much of a tough opponent he was for Bradford on the night.
His performance ultimately earned him an impressive overall match rating of 7.5/10, making him the highest-rated outfield Sunderland player according to SofaScore.
Taking this into account and the fact that Ipswich have managed to concede more goals (25) than any of the top ten teams in the League One table, this could be a great opportunity for Johnson to give Broadhead, who has been described as a “terrific” player by Everton U23 manager David Unsworth, a chance to terrify Ipswich and then fully prove himself in League One with a consistent run of games.
However, the fact that Ross Stewart has been in brilliant goalscoring form in League One this season with ten goals in 15 appearances, suggests that Johnson isn’t likely to drop him for Broadhead, meaning a potential change in formation to have both Stewart and Broadhead in the side could be the way forward for Sunderland, especially since they’ve lost their three previous games across all competitions prior to the Bradford match.
With this in mind, considering how Leon Dajaku failed to have much of an attacking impact in the game against Bradford with no key passes made, perhaps he could be the one to make way for Broadhead on this occasion to see if that can turn Sunderland’s fortunes around.