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Tony Mowbray has a plan for Sunderland striker crisis, but says one solution 'won't be ready'

By Michael Graham,


Sunderland are unlikely to be able to call on Alex Pritchard to help solve their striker shortage in the FA Cup.

Tony Mowbray says Sunderland probably can’t rely on Alex Pritchard to help solve their striker crisis against Fulham.

With Ross Stewart injured and Joe Gelhardt cup-tied, Sunderland will go into the FA Cup fourth round replay without the use of a specialist centre-forward.

Previously in the season Alex Pritchard and Elliot Embleton filled the void in a false nine role. Embleton, though, is now recovering from a serious injury himself, while Pritchard has only just returned from a calf problem.

"I'm not sure Pritch is ready to be thrown in and play as a false nine or number 10,” Mowbray said.

“We have to look at the players we've got. Whether we play Amad a bit higher up the pitch...we'll see. I don't want to sit here and tell Fulham what our team is going to be. We'll have a team that hopefully is very competitive and the fans who come to watch will see a Sunderland team fighting for every ball.

"The opposition are a very talented group of individuals and are sitting sixth in the Premier League. It won't be gung-ho but we will be brave."

Striker shortages has blighted Sunderland’s season. They had to deal with it earlier in the campaign and, if Joe Gelhardt suffers an injury or Sunderland advance further in the competition, they will have to deal with it again.

Mowbray, though, says Sunderland just have trust that they can still hurt opposition teams with what they have available.

"We have to find a way, as we did for three months when I first arrived,” he said. “We'll hopefully have an attacking force on the pitch where when we have the ball we ask questions of them and try threaten their goal.

“It's less easy without a noted centre forward who likes to play down the middle, but we will hopefully ask enough questions where we can threaten their goal and see whether we can win the game.

"We've had a discussion on the training ground about how we have to be able to threaten them. We have to have players who will run behind their backline.

“When it isn't the natural game for the players, you have to train their brain to threaten the space behind. We have the players in the squad that if they know their job they hopefully adapt their individual attributes.

"We need people to run in behind and find the space behind if we're going to stretch Fulham and find the space for our technical players to play in.

"We've done the work on it, let's see if we can bring it to a matchday and try to find a performance similar to the first game.”

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