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Sunderland: Journalist expects Joe Gelhardt to start on Saturday

Sunderland: Journalist expects Joe Gelhardt to start on Saturday - Championship News

Phil Smith has claimed on The Roar podcast that Joe Gelhardt will be in line to start for Sunderland this weekend.

The Lowdown: Mowbray doesn’t have much choice

After a transfer window that flattered to deceive, Tony Mowbray now has to make the most of his young and relatively threadbare squad until the summer window to try to make a play-off push.

Last month, Sunderland were unable to replace Ross Stewart – who has suffered a season-ending injury – and instead have put a lot of pressure on Gelhardt, despite him being just 20 years old.

It’s not just his age which could be a worrying factor for some Sunderland fans, but also that he hasn’t started a competitive league game of first-team football since 3rd September, so he’s surely going to be short of match fitness.

The Latest: Gelhardt in line to start

Despite being so young and likely lacking match sharpness, Mowbray seemingly has no other options at centre-forward so Gelhardt will likely get a start on Saturday against Millwall, in Smith’s view.

He said: “I see it as a very, very similar team, probably with Gelhardt in for Stewart. I don’t think he’s got any choice, but just to say, ‘go on Joe, enjoy. Let’s see what you’re all about’.

Will Sunderland finish in the Play-Offs?





“And that is exciting, listen – Gelhardt’s got a huge reputation in the game and it is exciting to see how it goes.”

The Verdict: Sunderland hoping Gelhardt hits the ground running

It will certainly be a baptism of fire for Gelhardt to make his Sunderland debut away to Millwall as they are currently above the Black Cats in the table, so it will be a difficult task to get anything from the game.

Considering Smith believes Gelhardt arrives with a ‘huge’ reputation, it could be that debuting away from home against a top Championship outfit may not bother the young star, especially given he already has Premier League experience.

However, there will certainly be a lot of natural pressure on him as a striker to fire in the goals in Stewart’s absence, and that may well weigh heavily on his mind. This looks as though it is going to be a case of chucking Gelhardt in at the deep end and seeing if he sinks or swims.

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