The inside track on James Vaughan's spectacular form for Bury and what he'll offer Sunderland

Sunderland signed James Vaughan on Thursday
Sunderland signed James Vaughan on Thursday
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James Vaughan's arrival on Wearside completed a whirlwind 12 months since leaving Birmingham City.

The 28-year-old left the Blues in late August 2016, frustrated by a lack of first team opportunities.

At that stage, the prodigious talent that burst onto the scene at Everon was in danger of being wasted, a horror run of injuries taking its toll.

24 league goals later, the Black Cats swooped.

Mikael McKenzie, Bury FC reporter at the Bury Times, watched his remarkable revival at close quarters and gave Phil Smith an insight into what he'll offer Sunderland.

PS: He only has a year left on his deal but what did you make of the fee?

MM: It is a difficult one to call. He was in the final year of his contract but he was signed for free. In business terms, to make such a significant profit, off one asset, in 10 months, is fantastic.

But in football 24-goal-a-season strikers are difficult to find and even harder to replace. It was even more impressive that he scored 24 goals in a side which avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

I suppose only time will tell. If Jermaine Beckford, who was brought in on a free this summer, has a 20+ goal season this year then it will seem like a great bit of business on Bury's behalf.

PS: What kind of striker are Sunderland getting? Have injuries affected his game at all?

MM: Surprisingly Vaughan was one of the few players to avoid the treatment room at Gigg Lane last season. His career had been blighted with injury in the past, hence why former manager David Flitcroft managed to snatch him on a free transfer last August.

He is a real team-orientated striker and a nuisance to opposition defenders. His tireless work-rate unsettles backlines as he loves to press and chase every ball. He has good pace and a very keen eye for goal – all in all he is a very well-rounded forward.

PS: What kind of style and system suits him best?

MM: Vaughan played majority of last season as a two but also looked comfortably playing on his own. He really is flexible to suit most formations.

His best position is without doubt down the middle, but when asked to occasionally play wide right or left of a front three his attitude was exemplary.

PS: Can you see him really pinning down a first team spot at Sunderland?

MM: I don’t see why not. He has played in the Premier League before with Everton and showed glimpses of his quality there. It is just his injury record which has held him back in the past.

One thing is for sure; James Vaughan is not the type of player who will be going to Sunderland just to sit on the bench.

PS: What do you think was behind his revival last season?

MM: Quite simply he was given a regular run of games. Last year he made 40 appearances – his best season yet - which returned his largest ever goal tally.

If you can keep him fit and give him game time then he will be a very useful weapon to Simon Grayson’s armoury.