Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Eyes Up Rovers Striker

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Eyes Up Rovers Striker

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Mick McCarthy last night confirmed that he is keen to increase his striking options after admitting the loss of Kevin Kyle has left Sunderland short of the physical presence needed to sustain their promotion challenge.

And the Black Cats boss has refused to rule out mounting a fresh bid to try to bring Jonathan Stead to the Stadium of Light ( less than 12 months after the 21-year-old chose Blackburn over the Wearsiders.

Kyle is expected to miss the remainder of the campaign ( the Scottish international is awaiting a further consultation on the hip problem which has sidelined him since August ( and with the club's Premiership push having faltered in recent weeks, McCarthy has conceded that the 23-year-old's continuing absence is starting to take its toll.

None of Sunderland's four fit strikers ( Stephen Elliott, Marcus Stewart, Michael Bridges and Chris Brown ( is as tall as a player who scored a creditable 16 goals last term. And, while Stead is not as powerful as Kyle, his six-feet three-inch frame would certainly give the Black Cats the additional height their manager is seeking.

"To be able to change games you can keep passing it, moving it, and doing the things you do," said McCarthy, who, having seen his side collect just four points from their last four league fixtures, is relishing tomorrow's FA Cup encounter with Crystal Palace as a welcome break from the pressure of the Coca-Cola Championship title race. But, at some stage, you do need to have that option where you just throw one in the box and see if somebody can disturb something.

"When I was manager of Ireland we played Holland and, for the last 15 minutes of the game, they had got bodies in the box and were all just throwing it in. This is a team that is supposed to play Total Football. It would be nice to have that option. …

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