Stephen Elliott: This is why I'm so confident Charlie Wyke's goals can be replaced at Sunderland

It may be early days and there is undoubtedly going to be tougher times as we get deeper into this campaign but three wins out of three is just the tonic Sunderland supporters needed in the opening week of the season.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 5:00 pm

There have been way too many costly draws over the past few years for Sunderland and we have had umpteen discussions about what would have happened if we could have turned just a handful of those into victories.

So given the fact the team have won all three games 2-1 gives me great belief that this squad and management staff have finally found the remedy to get winning results over the line when games are on a knife-edge.

Against MK again it was the big number 14, Ross Stewart, who impressed me the most on the pitch.

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Elliot Embleton and Ross Stewart celebrate a Sunderland goal.

The ‘Loch Ness Drogba’ as I hear some supporters have christened him was once again a real handful leading the line for us.

There is no doubt that Charlie Wykes goals last year will need replaced but that dilemma doesn’t look as worrying the more I watch Stewart perform.

As well as his goals, his all round game has been sublime thus far.

I’ve no doubt he will win more penalties going forward as he has a very good knack of getting his body across defenders and drawing fouls. He is starting to become a real talisman.

The overall team performance on Saturday probably wasn’t as impressive as the one against Wigan.

MK Dons should be given a little credit for that as they look like they are going to be a decent outfit this season. The three points is all that matter though.

With Luke O’Nien absent with illness it gave new signing Dennis Cirkin an opportunity.

I thought the young defender did very well considering it was his full senior debut. He tired late on as was to be expected but he looks to be a clever footballer and linked-up well with his new teammates.

The most pleasing thing about Saturday was once again how confident and comfortable Sunderland seemed even after they conceded the goal.

Obviously it would have been a bit more relaxing to watch had Lynden Gooch stuck his spot-kick away but the team didn’t panic and like I already mentioned were able to get the job done.

I think Bailey Wright should be given a special mention too. I felt when he came on he was a real calm and assuring presence in the last 20 minutes.

The whole squad is going to be important this year and the changes were examples of how Lee Johnson is going to have to utilise his squad at different stages and in different positions on the pitch also.

The manager will be once again delighted, although there is no doubt once he was back on the team bus his thoughts would have been moved straight onto Burton on Tuesday.

Burton will probably be the toughest test so far giving their own positive start to the season. They play a nice style of football and they will be pretty confident going into the game.

It’s a game I’m looking forward to and I’m sure Johnson and his men will be more than prepared.

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