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Phillips Backs Fletcher to Shine as Lone-striker

Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has backed current Black Cats forward Steven Fletcher to shine playing as the lone striker during the rest of the campaign.

The Scotland international has scored four goals in 11 Premier League appearances so far this season and he has constantly had to adapt between playing up front on his own or with a striking partner.

The former Wolves forward has proven he can thrive in any formation and club great Phillips believes he has all the attributes to lead the line on his own.

He said: “I wouldn’t say the lone striker is a specialised role but you have to have a special kind of player to play it well – someone with a bit of an all-round game. Steven Fletcher could be that person. He has got that.”

The current Derby County coach scored 113 goals in 208 appearances for the Black Cats between 1997 and 2003 and he is convinced that Fletcher can score the goals to help steer the North East club away from the relegation zone.

He added: “Steven’s all-round game on his day is very good. He’s good in the air and he can hold it up. He’s not the quickest player in the world but he’s clever. With Fletcher and Defoe in the team together you’ve always got someone on the pitch who can score goals.”

Sunderland are currently second from bottom of the division with just one win from their opening 12 league games and they are already four points adrift of safety.

The Wearsiders will be hoping they can begin their march up the league table with a victory against Crystal Palace on Monday