Charlie Wyke’s turnaround at Sunderland simply has to be applauded.
After his first two campaigns in the North East, he cut a pillar of frustration. Everyone associated with the Mackems could quite easily be painted with a similar brush, but the way in which the target man has responded has been nothing short of emphatic.
Prior to this season, Wyke had bagged just 11 goals in all competitions across two campaigns for Sunderland.
Yet, in this term alone, the 28-year-old has beaten the opposition goalkeeper on 13 occasions.
The latest of those goals came against Wimbledon, when he notched a quite tremendous hat-trick in a 3-0 win for Lee Johnson’s side.
Though, what if we were to suggest the Black Cats could find their new Wyke? Well, they could certainly find that if they pursue a deal for Preston North End striker Jayden Stockley.
Football League World reported that both Sunderland and Hull were interested in a move for the 27-year-old this week but with him scoring just once this season, there are quite clearly obvious concerns.
To make matters worse, the Preston forward has netted only one goal in 22 League One outings previously. That being said, there is a lot more to the player than just his ability to find the net.
In fact, he offers rather similar traits to Wyke, someone who has become an imperious figure when leading the Sunderland side. For starters, the duo are both 6 foot 2 and both are colossal when it comes to aerial battles.
Although, what is the Sunderland target like when it comes to bringing others into play and utilising his strength?
We’ll let Preston teammate Chris Maguire do the talking here. He once waxed lyrical about Stockley, saying: “He’s a fantastic player and has really hit the ground running since he came here. The guy can hold up a house. He’s strong and his hold-up play is one of the best I’ve played with.”
So there you have it. Although the striker might not be the best at finding the net in the Championship, he is superb at doing what Wyke does best – holding things up.
It might not be the best of ideas to have two very similar players in the squad but it proves what he could bring to the Stadium of Light if Kristjaan Speakman signs him.