Simon Grayson hailed James Vaughan for hauling himself off his sick bed to score Sunderland's only goal of the game yesterday, but with Duncan Watmore coming through an U23 fixture unscathed, it looks like the Black Cats will have to make do without further additions up front until January.
So, James Vaughan responded to the responsibility of being Sunderland's only fit senior striker yesterday to bag his first goal of the season at Hull despite being ill for the 24 hours preceding the game.
The summer signing from Bury had not found the net in his previous 500 minutes of league action for Sunderland, nor had he struck in a handful of pre-season fixtures. With many fans hailing Vaughan as the 'new Danny Graham' - only cheaper - Saturday's first-half header was a welcome boost for the player and his manager.
Simon Grayson has had some deserved stick in the last fortnight for insisting that the club's failure to land a striker on deadline day was not a problem. Then with Lewis Grabban limping off on Tuesday, the Black Cats boss had onlookers sniggering with his claims that there probably won't be any decent free agent front men left now.
DOH! who would have seen that one coming. Had Vaughan not recovered from the bout of sickness and
the shits diarrhea by yesterday morning, Sunderland would have had to either line up with a 4-6-0 formation or shoved Lynden Gooch up front - an attacking midfielder with one senior career goal to his name (in the EFL Cup).
It's clear Sunderland have - and had - no intention of bringing in an additional front man. In fact, some rumours circulating last week claimed that it was the Black Cats who pulled the plug on Villa striker Ross McCormack's move to the Stadium of Light rather than Steve Bruce.
Make-do-and-mend as your nanna might have said in the olden days, means Simon Grayson must sweat on fixing Grabban's hamstring and shoring up Duncan Watmore's cruciate ligament until the January transfer window opens.
Not that he'll get Christmas money to spend. But Sunderland may have a space available for yet another loan move should a willing striker be made available by a club sick of the sight of someone they don't want.
Watmore appears to have been the headline act as the Under-23s built on their stunning 11-0 victory over - erm - Annfield Plain in midweek to draw 2-2 with Manchester City yesterday. The 23-year-old got 45 minutes under his belt and scored a penalty.
Too much hope already rests on Watmore's shoulders ahead of his return to first team action which may be as soon as a fortnight's time. Around this time last year Sunderland fans were already eagerly awaiting the return of another wide-ish front-ish man in Fabio Borini after his August injury last season. When the Italian did return of course, to much anticipation, he proceeded to be the Black Cats single worst player as relegation progressed from likely to certainty.
This week, media outlets and the manager will tell you not to expect too much from Watmore and how his return from injury will be a steady one without rush.
They're right of course and the former Road Runner won't be hurtling headlong into the opposition's corner at full strength until the back end of the year; but for a side who nearly turned out yesterday without a recognised striker, his reemergence may be the only significant boost for Sunderland this side of 2018 as Simon Grayson limps his mediocre side onwards.