Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has admitted that his old side need to go out during the January transfer window and sign another centre-forward after the Black Cats secured a massive win over Leeds United.
The club in the north east came out on top at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night with a 1-0 win thanks to a late goal from Jobe Bellingham to seal all three points to consolidate the managerless team’s place in the top six for at least another few days.
Sunderland made the bold decision to sack Tony Mowbray last Monday, having picked up merely one point across games against Plymouth Argyle, Huddersfield Town and Millwall. Mike Dodds was handed the reins as caretaker manager for the second time in the last two years.
Under Dodds, Sunderland have earned two massive wins against West Bromwich Albion and now Leeds since the weekend, gaining some ground on the teams above them and have winnable fixtures against Bristol City, Coventry City and Hull City on the near horizon.
Mowbray’s sacking came just hours after the experienced manager made comments hinting that the board would not look to sanction the signing of a new centre-forward once the winter window opens up.
Speaking after the game on Tuesday on Sky Sports, former striker Phillips believes that the number ‘9’ position is an area of weakness for Sunderland and has claimed that the hierarchy should bolster the frontline with a new centre-forward over the coming weeks [quotes via the Sunderland Echo]:
“They have got a good team spirit, you can see that. They believe they are good enough, they want to win football matches and they came close [to promotion] last season.
“I still think, in January, it is a big decision but do they go out and get the striker? Again, a centre-forward hasn’t scored, you can’t class Jobe Bellingham as a centre forward. I’d love to see a centre forward in the team.”
“There were four strikers on the bench tonight, they weren’t used. That tells me he doesn’t fancy them. Go and get a striker in January, who can score goals in that team and get them into the play-offs.”
Sunderland have Mason Burstow, Nazariy Rusyn, Hemir Semedo and Eliezer Mayenda in their ranks, four inexperienced strikers who have failed to score a single goal for the club as of yet.
If the Black Cats are to finally make a push for promotion back to the Premier League, the signing of a striker is of paramount importance in January and should be prioritised by the board.