Tuesday 12 December 2017

David Moyes turns to Victor Anichebe to rescue Sunderland from relegation

Sunderland striker Victor Anichebe is back from injury
Sunderland striker Victor Anichebe is back from injury

Manager David Moyes is hoping forgotten man Victor Anichebe can rescue Sunderland's season with relegation staring them in the face.

The Black Cats entertain Manchester United on Sunday lying 10 points adrift of safety with just eight games remaining and having won only one of their last 13.

Perhaps more worrying is the fact they have not scored a single goal in 15 minutes shy of 10 hours of league football, since Jermain Defoe collected his 14th of the season at Crystal Palace on February 4.

Free signing Anichebe returned from a knee injury which had sidelined him since January as a substitute at Leicester in midweek, and Moyes is hoping the muscular striker can rediscover the form which made him an instant favourite on Wearside just when his club needs it most.

The Scot said: "We have missed Victor because, if you look, we have not scored enough goals this season.

"We have had as our attacking players Fabio Borini, Adnan Januzaj, Wahbi Khazri, Jermain Defoe and the other was Victor Anichebe, who gave us a completely different type of centre-forward from all the others.

"He was the only one we had different, so if he got injured then we were going to be in trouble. He never got started this season, but when he did come in he made a big impact for us.

"You have got to remember, Victor was a free transfer. There wasn't another Premier League club took him during the window. We took him and he's actually come in and when he's played the games for us he's done really well."

The depth of Sunderland's problems is illustrated by the fact that, despite making only 13 appearances in all competitions so far this season, Anichebe remains in joint second place in the scoring stakes on three along with full-back Patrick van Aanholt, who left for Crystal Palace in January.

Understandably, Moyes is desperate to have Anichebe back in harness, and while he knows he is far from fully match-fit he admits the time has arrived when he has little choice but to gamble.

He said: "We're in a position where we're having to take as many risks as we can. Do I think he's ready to play 90 minutes? No. Do I think he could play part of the game? Yes, I think he could.

"But ultimately, you never know. It's a bit like Lee Cattermole - sometimes you play your first game and you feel good, and it's actually sometimes the second or third game where it catches up with you a bit more. But we're in that position now.

"We have relied on Jermain a lot for his goals. I hope he's got another half-dozen or so to get before the end of the season but we definitely need other people to contribute as well."

Press Association

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