Lee Johnson’s Sunderland head into Saturday’s League One fixture at the Stadium of Light in fine form, having picked up 16 points from their opening seven fixtures of the season, as well as securing their passage to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup in midweek.
In this cup fixture, despite ringing the changes to his starting XI, Johnson saw his team put in a dominant performance in a 2-0 victory over League One leaders Wigan Athletic, with a number of the Black Cats’ fringe players turning in very impressive displays.
One such man was 23-year-old Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead, with the centre-forward scoring one goal, making two key passes, winning two tackles, completing two dribbles and winning five duels over the course of his 90 minutes on the pitch.
The performance of the player who David Unsworth dubbed a “terrific” talent is sure to have given Johnson something of a selection headache ahead of the visit of Bolton Wanderers this afternoon, as Broadhead’s fellow centre-forward Ross Stewart has also been in remarkable form so far this season.
Indeed, over his seven League One appearances this term, the 25-year-old has scored five goals and averaged a SofaScore match rating of 7.36, ranking him as the Black Cats’ best performer in the third tier.
As such, it would appear unlikely that Broadhead will replace Stewart as the Mackems’ lone striker against the Trotters. However, with the £450k-rated youngster stating that he is more than capable of operating from the left wing, there would appear to be a way for Johnson to unleash the 23-year-old alongside Stewart in Sunderland’s attacking line up – a move which would likely strike fear into the Bolton defence.