Sunderland Q&A: Replacing Charlie Wyke, free agents, tactics and Josh Maja's contract

Defeat to Burton Albion and another injury for Charlie Wyke have dominated the headlines this week.

Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 2:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 2:52 pm
Charlie Wyke is out for up to two months with a knee problem

We sat down for our weekly Q&A to go through the main talking points with supporters.

You can watch the video in full above or read the main bits from Phil Smith below....

Charlie Wyke is out for up to two months with a knee problem

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Are there any free agents who Sunderland could sign to replace Charlie Wyke?

"It doesn't seem like a realistic possibility.

"Jack Ross had looked at free agents who could play on the left of central defence recently, taking Gael Andonian on trial.

"The reality was that with Djilobodji and Ndong not moving on, financially it wasn't really possible. Djilobodji has been served notice since then but both matters are still ongoing.

"There's a salary cap with the EFL and Sunderland have to keep that in mind.

"So I'm not sure they would move now, the focus is likely to be on resolving the situation with those two players and then looking to strengthen in January.

"For now Sunderland should be ok. Josh Maja has proved he is more than good enough and even though he was poor at Burton, Jerome Sinclair has looked lively.

"The other aspect as well is that Charlie Wyke is out for two months.

"Let's say you brought in Victor Anichebe or another free agent, by the time they get match fit and up to speed, it'll probably take the best part of two months before they're ready to play a significant part."

Did Jack Ross get it wrong at Burton?

"The team for Burton was a really exciting one.

"Some elements didn't quite work and maybe Flanagan and Hume would have better bets in defence. Sinclair also struggled on the left so maybe it was one forward too many.

"The manager will learned a lot about certain combinations in his squad, what does work and what doesn't.

"After the football of recent years, however, you always want the manager to make positive decisions.

"Some adjustments are needed but is the right way forward."

Aiden McGeady's return

"He probably played more than he should have done but Jack Ross seemed to be looking for a spark, to lift his fans and team-mates. That happened for a little while and the mood definitely changed.

"That's what McGeady does.

"He's exciting and he had an OK season last year, given that Chris Coleman didn't really play with wingers.

"Who knows how his Sunderland career will develop. Stewart Donald has been honest enough to say the wage bill has to come down and while McGeady isn't a top earner, if someone came in for him in January there'd be a decision to make.

"For now he's a great option and he should thrive under Jack Ross, who gives his wide players a lot of freedom. We've seen that with Lynden Gooch this season."

Josh Maja wins EFL young player of the month

"It just underlines the impression he's making not just in Sunderland but across the wider game.

"A new contract is obviously a priority now.

"Teams will be free to talk to him in January. Sunderland would be due compensation because of his age but if you look at past rulings then you tend not to get what you would see as full value. That was probably one reason for letting Joel Asoro go in the summer, who also had one year left on his deal.

"Ideally Sunderland would have liked to have sorted it before now and Jack Ross was candid about that last week, but it is a top priority now and meetings have been held behind the scenes to assess what can be offered.

"Hopefully that can pick up pace and get sorted."