Fresh from a thumping 5-0 win over Morecambe on Tuesday, Sunderland welcome Plymouth Argyle to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon looking to extend their unbeaten run in League One to six matches.
The Black Cats are just two points off of the League One automatic promotion places in fourth, albeit that Wigan have a game in hand, and a victory over Argyle could see Lee Johnson’s side climb into the top two.
Just a matter of days on since the thrashing of Morecambe, Johnson will be craving a performance of similar magnitude today against a side one place below and two points behind the Black Cats. Argyle will also be under new management in Steven Schumacher after Ryan Lowe departed for Preston North End in the week.
The Wearside club have an array of youngsters amongst their ranks this season, but one who has particularly stood out of late is Nathan Broadhead.
The striker netted a brace against the Shrimps on Tuesday having scored his first league goal for the club two weeks ago away at Cambridge United. As well as the goals against Morecambe, the Everton loanee scored with 67% of his shots, as well as completing 75% of his passes and making 41 touches. Simply put, he was excellent.
It’s no secret that the start of the campaign didn’t go to plan for the 23-year-old, who has been limited to just ten league appearances so far this season. Five of those have come in the last five games, highlighting his rising value within Johnson’s squad.
Despite being a centre-forward, Broadhead was deployed on the left-hand side of a front three in a 3-4-3 formation on Tuesday, which could be the 23-year-old’s pathway into a regular starting spot.
Ross Stewart is currently the club’s top scorer with 11 goals in 20 league appearances this term, suggesting that the flexibility highlighted by Johnson will be a crucial trait if the Everton loanee is to put together a run of games.
We published a piece on this site in recent days staking the case for Leon Dajaku to also start against Argyle, yet the biggest threat from the left flank could come from Broadhead.
With a hectic run of fixtures coming up for the Black Cats which will be crucial for their promotion push, the 23-year-old could be a crucial asset and should be relied upon to build on his recent goalscoring form.