The tactical switch Sunderland fans can expect to see more of in the weeks and months ahead

Lee Johnson expects Nathan Broadhead to start alongside Ross Stewart more as the season progresses, and says his phased introduction into the starting XI could be no bad thing.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:53 pm

Stewart's excellent performances leading the line, and Broadhead's relatively late arrival due to commitments at parent club Everton, have meant his gametime has been relatively limited.

But the loanee was excellent against Wigan Athletic in the Carabao Cup last week, scoring a good goal and impressing with his all-round play.

Sunderland have generally played with an additional playmaker this season, and the performances of Elliot Embleton have more than justified that switch.

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Nathan Broadhead scores his first Sunderland goal at the DW Stadium

Johnson is happy with the current blend but has no doubt it will rotate as the long campaign continues

"First and foremost, main striker [Ross Stewart] is something that's been said by other people and it's certainly not something I have ever said," he said.

"I think Rossco has done an excellent job, and I think that both of them can play together.

"When we recruit, we do so around tactical flexibility. The individual profile of the player is very important but it's also crucial that we match partnerships and pairings up.

"The mobility of both Rossco and Nathan Broadhead, you are going to see that in a two up top throughout the season, absolutely no doubt about that.

"But while we're playing well with a number ten in behind and our work in and out of possession is good, you obviously want to try to keep it as consistent as possible.

"A lot of individuals could could make a case to be playing in various positions.

"Nathan has done extremely well, and we sign people because we believe they are good enough to get in the side and stay there.

"It can be frustrating when you're not playing but when the team is winning and playing well, you know when you come in there is a consistency there.

"And it's not always bad for new players to get a bit of a look when they first come in, so they feel they really belong when they come into the starting XI."

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