Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray is facing the prospect of a busy month of business at the Stadium of Light during the January transfer window.
The Black Cats boss was hit with an early blow to his squad as Premier League side Everton decided to activate their recall option on striker Ellis Simms and the forward has now returned to Goodison Park, having initially been on a season-long loan.
The Englishman was consistent and reliable at the top end of the pitch for Sunderland and Mowbray and Kristjaan Speakman must dip into the market to source a replacement.
Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie recently claimed that the Black Cats could pursue a deal to sign Blackpool centre-forward Jerry Yates to replace Ross Stewart if the Scotland international were to depart this month.
However, this was before Simms’ recall and the club must now swoop for the Tangerines marksman to take the Everton striker’s place in the squad, to compete with Stewart instead of replacing him.
Yates, who has been hailed as “immense” and “on fire” by Blackpool journalist Sean McGinlay, has been in terrific form in the second tier this term and could provide the goalscoring threat that Sunderland have lost at the start of this month.
The 26-year-old has averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.96 and found the back of the net nine times in 25 appearances in the league this season. This suggests that he could have a similar impact to the one that Simms had in front of goal for the Black Cats, as both players have proven that they can score on a semi-regular basis at this level.
Yates has also shown that he can link-up play and provide for others by creating six ‘big chances’ for his teammates and registering two assists in the Championship, which means that he could replace Simms’ quality in both scoring and setting up goals.
Bringing him in on a permanent deal would also secure the long-term future of Sunderland’s striker department instead of having a player on loan until the end of the season, which would mean that there would be less cause for concern heading into the summer.
Therefore, Mowbray must push Speakman to strike a deal for Yates in the coming weeks as he could be a dream replacement for Simms.