The Black Cats were rocked a few weeks ago by an injury to Ross Stewart, which was sustained during the warm-up of their game against local rivals Middlesbrough – a match they ended up losing without scoring.
It can’t be underestimated how big of a loss Stewart is for Sunderland, as he’s managed to score 31 goals across all competitions since the start of last season and was the man who fired them into the Championship.
So given he’s set to be out for several weeks, Nicholson, who was speaking about Reading’s strikers prior to their midweek clash, also confirmed that Sunderland are looking into free agents to help fill the void left by Stewart.
He said: “Just going back to the striker situation – you mentioned Shane Long could be back, but they are pretty light up front; it’s a position Sunderland are pretty light in as well and have been looking at that free-agent market.”
Should Sunderland sign a free agent striker?
TIF Thoughts on Sunderland’s striker position…
While the loss of Stewart is undoubtedly a huge loss for Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray, and the situation on Wearside has taken another bad turn as loanee Ellis Simms failed to see out the first half against Reading with a suspected toe problem.
However, the options are very few and far between when it comes to strikers that are currently free agents, with the main ones that stand out for a side like Sunderland in the Championship being the likes Matej Vydra, Oumar Niasse and Hal Robson-Kanu.
However, all of those players are now on the wrong side of 30, so if they were to arrive on Wearside, any deal would surely have to be one that works financially and on a short-term basis – something that may be difficult to sell to any of those options.