Mick Beale will surely be gutted with Sunderland's failed Blackburn Rovers move: View | OneFootball

Mick Beale will surely be gutted with Sunderland's failed Blackburn Rovers move: View | OneFootball

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Football League World

·21 February 2024

Mick Beale will surely be gutted with Sunderland's failed Blackburn Rovers move: View

Article image:Mick Beale will surely be gutted with Sunderland's failed Blackburn Rovers move: View

Michael Beale lost his job at Sunderland on Monday, but it might have been different had the club signed a striker in January.

As reported by the Northern Echo's Scott Wilson, Blackburn's Sam Gallagher along with Wales international Kieffer Moore were on Sunderland's radar last month.

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Moore ended up going on loan from Bournemouth to Ipswich, but Beale will surely be gutted that he missed out on Gallagher, who stayed at Blackburn.

The Rovers forward missed four months through injury between September and January, but in his last six games he has three goals and four assists to his name.

Gallagher in goalscoring form

Jon Dahl Tomasson recently lost his job at Blackburn, and John Eustace has come in and got his centre forward firing again.

After the recent 2-2 draw against Preston, Eustace told the Lancashire Telegraph: "You can see that Preston are a very physical team, we needed Gally there for 95 minutes.

"He put his body on the line, scored a fantastic goal. I am really pleased he's part of the group and until now and the end of the season, he will play a massive part in what we want to do.

"The way he started on the front foot with the goal and his work rate off the ball, he grew in confidence during the game. His battling skills were there for everyone to see."

These are the exact characteristics Sunderland are missing right now as striker is clearly a problem position.

Black Cats blunt in attack

Sunderland have relied heavily on 23-year-old Jack Clarke for goals. He's the club's top scorer with 15 in all competitions, but too much responsibility is being placed on him at such a young age along with the fact he's playing out wide.

Between them, this season's striking options have three goals and two assists between them in 57 Championship appearances combined – one of the most damning statistics in this season's EFL.

Luis Semedo, Mason Burstow, Eliezer Mayenda and Nazariy Rusyn have taken it in turns to lead the line, but all lack the key attribute that a striker needs – goals.

Last season was a completely different story as Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms scored a combined tally of 18 in 32 games between August 2022 and January 2023.

Unfortunately, last January was a telling month as Stewart picked up an injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season before moving onto Southampton late in the summer transfer window.

Simms meanwhile, was recalled to parent club Everton.

Joe Gelhardt was brought in on loan from Leeds, but only managed one in 10.

Had Stewart not got injured and Simms stayed, the Black Cats may well have ended up getting promoted rather than going out in the play-off semi-finals.

Gallagher is Sunderland's missing link in attack

Both Stewart and Simms are big strikers with a solid physical profile. They put themselves about, work hard and score goals as last season proved.

Gallagher is 6'3" offers Blackburn everything that Stewart and Simms offered Sunderland at the top end of the pitch. It's clear to see that over the past year they have lacked a presence up top.

After Blackburn's 3-1 win at home to Stoke earlier this month, Callum Brittain gave his thoughts on his teammate Gallagher.

Brittain told the Lancashire Telegraph: "We call him (Gallagher) the horse, he's a workhorse."

"I thought he was outstanding today, he won every header, ran in-behind, worked for the team and did the ugly bits.

"He's not just a big man, I'll tell you that. Gally, we have him in the team for a reason. Let's use him properly.

"As a group, we have spoken in the last week about using Gally's strengths. Hedgey coming in at the back post, we don't do it enough."

In truth, Sunderland just haven't replaced Stewart.

Managerial instability hasn't helped either, and if the club had signed a striker last month then Beale's job would have been a lot easier.

Gallagher would have been a great option, but Sunderland's loss is proving to be Blackburn's gain.

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