Phil Parkinson has this message for his Sunderland strikers as he discusses the stat that concerns him

Phil Parkinson has urged his Sunderland strikers to build on the improvements being made elsewhere on the pitch.

Saturday, 9th November 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 9th November 2019, 8:00 am

The new Black Cats boss believes his side have improved their attacking threat generally, but his forward players are still struggling to get on the scoresheet regularly.

Charlie Wyke could return from an ankle injury after the international break and Parkinson is eager for one of his players to ‘step up to the plate’ in the coming weeks.

“We spoke about this with the players last week," Parkinson said.

Phil Parkinson is keen for his Sunderland strikers to work the goalkeeper more

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The crosses into the box have gone up from averaging about 15 to 24/25 in the last few league games.

“In other areas of the game we’ve improved but our percentage of shots on target from our shots is low, and we need to rectify that.

“It is the most important part of the game as everybody nows.

“Our approach play is good but being clinical in and around the box is crucial to where we’re going to finish at the end of the season.

“Charlie’s [return is] important because I think he’s a good player,” he said.

“We want him back fit, Will and Marc are good players [too].

“We want one of them to step up to the plate and say, ‘I’m the man’.

“As I’ve said since I came in, it’s my job to create the supply line for those players.”

All three have excellent records at League One level, and Parkinson insists he has encouraged by what he has seen on the training pitch.

He now wants to see that executed in games as the Black Cats look to progress in cup competitions and climb the league table.

“We’ve got to be harder on ourselves as a group, we’ve got quality and we’ve got to put it on ourselves to improve our [shots on target] ratio.

“It’s not good enough to not work goalkeepers in games.

“We’ve going to keep beating the drum on the training ground and through stuff we do with video clips and things.

“On the training pitch, the finishing has been excellent.

“They’ve been good, they’re both very eager to work and I do sense an improvement.”