Early this week, Sunderland suffered a big injury blow. They were rocked by the news that left-back Denver Hume had suffered a further setback, and thus, would be out for a larger period of time.
Therefore, what should Lee Johnson do?
The Sunderland boss has been switching things up in recent weeks following the squad’s bout of Covid and because of a number of injuries.
We’ve seen Callum McFadzean deputise at full-back in place of Hume but you can hardly say his stay there has been convincing after he gave away a penalty vs Wimbledon.
He did keep a clean sheet in the Papa John’s Trophy victory over Port Vale, but Dion Sanderson has also been fielded in that third of the pitch.
That came during the 0-0 draw with Northampton so the Wolves loanee has been amongst the shut outs too.
That being said, it’s thought that his parent club aren’t too happy with the lack of game time he’s received.
With Hume suffering a setback in his recovery from injury, it looks as though Johnson is in the market for a left-sided player. Brighton defender Alex Cochrane has been linked with a switch but another left-back on their radar is Scott Tanser.
The 26-year-old currently plays for St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership but has experience of the English game having risen through the ranks at Rochdale and Port Vale.
The £800-per-week earner is out of contract in the summer and it’s understood that both Sunderland and Barnsley are eyeing a cut-price deal this month.
For the Mackems, it would be an ideal signing given their lack of depth on the left-hand side, but it would surely also be the final nail in the coffin for Sanderson.
The young defender has only started four games in League One this season but if a left-back arrives, it puts the Wolves loanee in even more danger of not receiving enough game time.
It’s hard to suggest that Tanser wouldn’t come in and immediately play either. Mightily strong in the air, he’d offer a stern physical presence capable of improving Sunderland’s backline.
Via WhoScored, the left-back has won a mighty four aerial duels per game this season. For context, that’s more than Sanderson (2.6) and also more than their other left-back candidates Hume and McFadzean.
They’ve won 0.1 and 1.4 aerial duels respectively this season so in the heading department Johnson can find himself a major upgrade. As far as tackles are concerned, Tanser falls ever so slightly behind Hume with 1.4 tackles per game to 1.8.
Sanderson, meanwhile, only wins one a match. Clearly, the St Johnstone defender would add more to this Mackems backline than their current loanee and consequently, it’s hard to suggest he wouldn’t be a good signing.
With Hume injured and McFadzean less than competent at left-back recently, Tanser would be a superb pick-up in January.