The January transfer window is just under two months away from opening and Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray may want to dip into the market to improve his squad.
He could already be working with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman to draw up plans to add to the team ahead of the second half of the campaign.
One area in which the Black Cats need to improve is goalscoring. Ross Stewart remains the club’s top goalscorer in the Championship this season, with five goals, and he has not played a single match since August.
Jack Clarke (four) and Ellis Simms (three), meanwhile, are the only other players in the squad with more than two strikes in the division and this suggests that Mowbray needs to bolster his attacking options.
The Sunderland boss could now land a January masterclass by swooping for the in-form Northampton predator Sam Hoskins, who has been lighting up League Two this season.
He has been firing in the goals on a regular basis and has the potential to make the step up to the Championship, given how easy he has found it to find the back of the net in the fourth tier.
It was reported back in September that the Black Cats were one of a number of clubs showing an interest in signing the winger. Middlesbrough, Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, and Barnsley are also said to be keen on the attacker and this suggests that Mowbray and Speakman will need to beat off stiff competition to land the forward’s signature.
Hoskins, who reporter Katie Wheatley dubbed a “star“, also caught the eye in 2021/22 as he scored 13 times and provided nine assists, whilst creating 13 ‘big chances’ for his teammates, in 46 appearances.
Journalist Josh Bunting heaped praise on the attacker earlier this season, Tweeting: “Sam Hoskins with another goal for Northampton Town this afternoon, 11 in the league this season. He scored 13 in the whole of last season, just playing with so much confidence and freedom. His goal today, the touch and execution is just perfection. Scoring all sorts of goals.”
There is no guarantee that he will be able to make the step up but his prolific display in front of goal in 2022/23 so far suggests that he could play at a higher level, as he has racked up 12 goals in as many starts in League Two.
Therefore, signing Hoskins is a gamble worth taking for Mowbray as the goalscoring winger, who has also shown that he can be a creator for his teammates, could solve his team’s woes in front of goal.
This means that he could be a masterclass of a signing as they could unearth a gem from the lower leagues instead of splashing big money on an established Championship star.