Sunderland Round-Up: Lee Johnson’s Search for Attacking Reinforcements Continues

Lee Johnson's search

The latest edition of the Sunderland weekly round-up takes a look at the latest news from Stadium of Light. Midfielder George Dobson departed for the rest of the season and head coach Lee Johnson’s search for attacking reinforcements continues.

This past week also saw the Black Cats play two games at home. However, poor performance in one left fans and Lee Johnson frustrated as their attempts to move up the league took a knock. Fortunately, Charlie Wyke continued his fine form with a winner in the second game to get Johnson’s team back on track.

Sunderland Weekly Round-Up: Lee Johnson’s Search for Attacking Reinforcements Ongoing

George Dobson Leaves on Loan

Midfielder George Dobson has left the club and joined AFC Wimbledon on loan until the end of the season. The 23-year-old had fallen down the pecking order since the arrival of Lee Johnson in December. The addition of fellow midfielder Carl Winchester this month also added to the competition in the middle of the park. 

Dobson signed for Sunderland in the summer of 2019 from Walsall. He has gone on to make 46 appearances, scoring three goals. The former West Ham United academy player has made just three starts in the league this season. With game time likely to be further limited, Dobson made the decision to leave on loan. This will also free up wages as Lee Johnson battles with the League One salary cap.

Lee Johnson’s Search for Attacking Reinforcements Still Ongoing

Lee Johnson is still hoping to add to his squad before the transfer window shuts. Johnson has little in the way of leeway due to the salary cap; however, the head coach remains hopeful. 

The Black Cats currently have only one fully fit striker in Charlie Wyke. Although the big forward is in form at present, back-up is required. Will Grigg and Danny Graham have been on the sidelines recently through injury; however, neither have proved that they can score goals for Sunderland at this level. 

Speaking last week, Johnson said: “We need to improve in every area, but if you are talking transfers, we are looking for players with those attributes for the final third. 

“It’s not necessarily a set player to plug a gap, We want every club in the bag, in terms of a golfing analogy, that’s a good way to describe it.”

Plymouth Argyle Leave With Three Points

In the hours prior to kick-off, there was talk that the game could be called off due to the amount of heavy rainfall that fell on the Stadium of Light pitch. Following the game, many wished that it had been called off. 

Plymouth arrived on Wearside without an away win all season. They left with three points. Sunderland struggled to possession into chances on goal and of the two teams they failed to cope with the wintery conditions. At half-time Argyle were in front. 

The Black Cats upped their game in the second half and equalised through an Aiden O’Brien header. Minutes later and Plymouth were back in front, halting Sunderland’s momentum and calming themselves in the process. The away side were happy to protect their lead and saw out the game with the win intact. 

It was yet another frustrating home performance from the Black Cats. If any team need their fans back in the stadium, it’s them.

Back to Winning Ways at Home

In-form striker Charlie Wyke dragged Sunderland back to winning ways with the only goal in a victory against Shrewsbury Town. It was their first win at home in 82 days. 

In an impressive first-half by the home side, Lee Johnson’s men dominated as they looked to right the wrongs from the previous game. Charlie Wyke’s header early in the game settled nerves but for all their dominance, they could not extend their lead.

This was a classic case of a game of two halves as Sunderland began to struggle which made the second 45 minutes a tense affair. They held on however for a crucial three points. Lee Johnson, although pleased with the win, wants more consistency from his players. He said: “I thought the first half an hour was outstanding, exactly how we want to play. When we start to put together 96-minute performances like that we’ll be very close.

“It doesn’t always work like that in football and in the second half, we had to dig in. They made it a battle, we made it a battle at times and that’s something we’ve got to look at. 

“We need to be consistent. Consistency of character, consistency of work, consistency of decision-making.

“We have to review our performances honestly, what went well and what didn’t, and stay on the right path. I believe we will do that and make this place better, and that’s not a criticism of the previous regime it just means continually trying to get improve.”

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