Jack Ross explains how Jerome Sinclair departure impacts Sunderland’s January planning and why it should still be quiet month

BFC SAFC Kimpioka warming up.Picture by FRANK REID
BFC SAFC Kimpioka warming up.Picture by FRANK REID
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Jack Ross will look to bring in a striker this month but any move will be unrelated to the depature of Jerome Sinclair.

Sinclair returned to Watford on Thursday after struggling to break into the first-team picture on Wearside.

Ross’s search for a new centre-forward did hasten that departure, but the Black Cats boss intended to bring one in regardless of the decision made regarding the former Liverpool youngster.

The 22-year-old scored two goals in 14 appearances across all competitions during his time at the Stadium of Light.

Top of Sunderland’s list is Wigan Athletic striker Will Grigg.

The Black Cats have launched a bid to sign the 27-year-old, with Ross saying on Thursday that ‘nothing was imminent’ in terms of adding extra firepower.

Talks are likely to continue as the window progresses.

Ross believes his squad needs an orthodox striking option to support Josh Maja and Charlie Wyke.

“I would have tried to bring a striker in [anyway],” Ross said.

“Jerome obviously is one that can play in a wide area as well but I think trying to recruit an out-and-out striker, we only really have Charlie and Josh.

“Charlie is our only number nine, really.

“Josh likes to play in those little areas.

“So I think we need another type where everyone would say, ‘he’s a definite striker’.

“You’ve seen the importance of that in recent weeks I think, where we’re ahead in games or need to nick one, I think it would help us.”

Ross made his first January addition earlier this week with the arrival of Burnley defender Jimmy Dunne on loan.

Once he has added a new striker, whether that be Grigg or someone else, Ross does not expect any further incomings.

The Sunderland boss is eager to ensure there are opportunities for talented youngster Benji Kimpioka, who played another starring role in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier this week - scoring the fourth goal in a 4-0 win over Newcastle United Under-21s.

“Unless we lose anyone, I think that would be it,” Ross said.

“Or, of course, (if) we picked up an unforseen injury.

“I think also that on the back of Jerome going, we look at Benji in terms of how much we involve him.

“We could bring him in [with the senior squad] every single day as I’ve done with Bali (Mumba) since day one of pre-season.

“He might not be involved every week but be around and be the go-to, if you like.

“I think he’s proven himself enough in the first-team opportunities he’s had to be that player.

“We need that pathway for younger players and if we keep that, it helps the academy a lot.”