Sunderland’s new boss Martin O’Neill needs to sort out strikers

Sunderland's Dong-Won Ji (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Stephen Ward.
Sunderland's Dong-Won Ji (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Stephen Ward.
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THERE were 24 million reasons why Sunderland opted to offload their prized asset while flirting with the highest echelons of the Premier League, writes Chris Young.

Eleven months later, there is just one reason why the Black Cats find themselves hovering ominously above the black hole of the relegation zone.

If new boss Martin O’Neill were to conduct a fans survey of where Sunderland have gone wrong this season, there would be a wide-ranging ensemble of faults – constantly changing back four, inability to strike the right balance in midfield etc.

But the one factor which would be unanimously derided by all questioned is the lack of threat from the frontmen and O’Neill saw first-hand the powder-puff nature of Sunderland’s attack at a damp and dreary Molineux yesterday.

Sunderland aren’t necessarily a bad side, but they seem incapable of killing teams off by scoring while in the ascendancy and that prompts nervousness at the back. With a Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck or fully-focused Asamoah Gyan in their ranks, the Wearsiders would be safely nestled in the top half.

Nicklas Bendtner and Ji Dong-won were not culpable for the game-changing penalty miss, nor the lapsed concentration which saw Steven Fletcher twice granted sufficient space to secure Wolves the most crucial of three point hauls.

Read Chris Young’s full verdict in today’s Echo.