Sunderland rule out free agent signing as duo considered as striking options

Leon Dajaku (centre) and Amad Diallo (right) warm up for Sunderland.
Leon Dajaku (centre) and Amad Diallo (right) warm up for Sunderland.

WHILST forward duo Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms recover from the respective injuries, Sunderland's Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman feels there is enough cover in the side to cope in Amad Diallo and Leon Dajaku and is not expecting to make any free agent signings.

Stewart is not expected to be back in action for over a month after picking up a thigh injury in the warm-up before the Black Cats defeat to Middlesbrough.

Meanwhile, Simms limped off in the 3-0 win over Reading the following week.

Amad has made three substitute appearances since his loan move from Manchester United while German Dajaku is working his way back to full fitness and recently featured for the Under-21's.

Tony Mowbray's squad are light on out-and-out strikers at this moment in time. With Amad and Dajaku being considered as options, Speakman hinted that the club won't be tempted to hunt for a striker in the free agent market.

He told SAFC Unfiltered: "I think if our model was to play two up top, we'd probably would have more numbers in that area because you'd be looking to play two every week. Our structure was to play one so naturally that would have been Ross. Then Ellis would fight that spot out.

"We wanted some tactical flexibility and some difference in the team so with Amad and Leon, we had that four for two spaces. When you do play 4-3-3, then the natural thought is that you want a bigger and stronger player at the top end of the pitch but it doesn't mean you have to play that way.

"Amad played up front for Man United in pre-season in a similar shape, Leon played for us against Roma in a similar shape and both individually within those two sets of games did really well. We think we have got enough quality.

"We can go out tomorrow and get a number nine. But if he doesn't get in front of Leon or Amad, then there is zero point in having him."

Sunderland return to Championship action this weekend against Preston North End. Stewart is ruled out for the game at the Stadium of Light but Simms is working his way back to full fitness with head coach Mowbray hopeful on his fitness.

In their respective battles to return to action, there is an opportunity for Amad or Dajaku to seize as Speakman continued: "We brought Amad in to do that job and it will be up to Amad to show that he can do that job to that level. Then we'll be accountable for how well those players do.

"I don't think it's something that our fanbase and supporters should be worrying about. Internally, we've watched all those games.

"When you look at someone like Leon, when he's played his Under-19 games, he's played 70 per cent of those games as a striker so it's not something that we're thinking is too different for him. It's something we had in the plan at the start.

"Ultimately, those players have to do well enough in training."