Steven Fletcher’s return from injury is imminent and Sunderland and Adam Johnson in particular will be doing cartwheels with the prolific Scot fancied to fire Gus Poyet’s new employers free of the grasping tentacles of relegation.
The Stadium of Light side are 83/100 to have their heads above the demotion waterline by the end of the campaign.
Adam Johnson has created the second-highest amount of key passes in the Premier League this season.
The former Man City man has created as many scoring opportunities as Mesut Ozil and Michu this term and only Mark Noble has played more, yet you won’t find Johnson featuring on any assists leaderboards.
His Sunderland teammates have failed to put away a single one of the 16 chances he’s furnished them with in seven games.
Fletcher registered 11 times in 28 league starts for the relegation-battling Black Cats in 2012/13.
That total is all the more impressive when it’s considered that not only was the one-time Wolverhampton Wanderer playing in a seemingly doomed side, but that he also missed the majority of the late season resurgence that ultimately earned them survival.
He averaged that respectable tally from 55 shots or slightly less than two opportunities per game and this term he required just 19 minutes of his curtailed return to get on the scoresheet against Crystal Palace.
Understudy Jozy Altidore has now notched one goal in 34 Premier League appearances.
The American trusted with leading the line in Fletcher’s absence has failed to replicate the form he displayed at AZ in the Netherlands last season when helping himself to 31 goals in 41 appearances, with a solitary Capital One Cup goal to his name in 2013/14.
Instead he’s more like the callow youth that toiled for 28 games in a Hull City shirt in 2009/10 in return for a solitary strike to celebrate.