3 minute read
14/2/2022 | 07:15pm
Sunderland have endured a rollercoaster of a season as they have been battling for promotion out of League One whilst also changing managers midway through the campaign.
The Black Cats are currently fourth in the table as it stands but previously topped it and have been in and around the promotion picture throughout the year.
They recently made the decision to part ways with Lee Johnson and replaced him with former Norwich and Preston manager Alex Neil, who was held to a 1-1 draw by AFC Wimbledon in his first match at the weekend.
Will Sunderland achieve promotion?
Alex Pritchard scored Sunderland’s goal as he found the back of the net with a sublime free-kick, which highlighted his importance to the team. His strike helped them to avoid a fourth straight defeat in the league and he has been excellent throughout the campaign.
Whilst Ross Stewart has impressed as the club’s top scorer with 18 goals, the Englishman has stolen the show with his exciting, creative, play in the number 10 position since his move to Wearside from Huddersfield on a free transfer.
In 19 League One starts, Pritchard has scored four goals and provided five assists. He has also created 50 chances in total across his 28 appearances, with seven of them going down as ‘big chances’. These statistics suggest that the gem is unfortunate to only have five assists to his name at this point in the campaign.
Former Black Cats boss Johnson previously hailed the Tottenham academy graduate’s creativity, saying: “Pritch is going to be important for us and I think you see that as well.
“We are still building him up. He’s 95 percent fit and I think he has that quality to unlock doors at this level that most people haven’t.”
Along with his impressive play in the final third, he also made 1.5 tackles and interceptions per game in League One. This suggests that he is not averse to putting his foot in when needed, instead of shying away from his defensive duties.
Pritchard has stolen the show from Stewart as he is the conduit of the attack for Sunderland, with moves flowing through his link-up between the midfield and the Scot. He runs games with his ability to create chances out of nothing and his free-kicks in recent weeks have shown that he can also score from distance to help the side win vital points.
Therefore, he has been a sensational signing for the Black Cats and is showing that he has the ability to be a major player for Neil. Pritchard worked with the Scottish coach at Norwich earlier in his career and registered six goals and seven assists in the Championship in the 2016/17 campaign for the Canaries, which highlights the potential he has.
AND in other news, Big “worry”: SAFC dealt concerning injury verdict that’ll leave fans very worried…