Steven Fletcher Needs To Keep Up The Momentum


It looked as though the weight of the world had been lifted off of Steven Fletcher’s shoulders when he nodded home a Jordi Gomez cross on the twenty-third minute mark against Stoke City this past Saturday.

That was the Scotsman’s first strike this calendar year and it ended the strikers personal thirteen game goal drought!

Now when discussing Fletcher’s poor form in front of goal, it would be wrong not to factor in a few reasons that helped the slump. He has been unfit for the majority of the year after suffering from numerous injuries and niggles. He, along with the rest of the Sunderland squad suffered during the Paolo Di Canio reign and low morale had set in at the stadium of light.

But Fletcher is still only twenty-seven. He has a decent Premier League record with 46 strikes in 149 appearances.

Many a striker goes through similar slumps in form. Chances stop falling to you, you make the wrong decisions and the keepers get bigger, while the goals get smaller. But it’s how you react to the positives of scoring that ultimately says more about you as a striker. If you can get out of that rut with a bang then you are on course for redemption.

After his opening goal of the season, the hitman just had to wait another 56 minutes until he got his second. He made a clever run into the far post, where he managed to steer home the ball after a miss-kick from teammate Jack Rodwell. He was once again the man on hand at the right time!

It’s that kind of luck a striker thrives on. Obviously you still need to make the smart run to the back post and finish the chance off but it was luck that got the ball to your feet.

Also lets not forget that it was Steven that set up fellow forward Connor Wickham for Sunderland’s opener on the fourth minute. Just being apart of that goal would have given ‘Fletch’ confidence.

Fletcher now needs to use that brace against Stoke as a springboard to more goals and better all round performances.

I am a big admirer of the strikers style of play, when he’s on form. He can run into the channels, he is terrific in the air and gets into great positions because of his intelligent runs and movement.

Before his injury problems and lull in form, I was thinking that the £12m man was knocking on the door to score fifteen, maybe even twenty goals a season. I feel he has all the tools. Fletcher possess good strength that allows him to bully defenders at set-pieces and the intelligence to gain space in the penalty area. He just needs to have the confidence to believe in his own ability and keep on that scoring track.

He nows heads back to Scotland, for games against Georgia and Poland. It would be fantastic for the ‘Tartan Army’ if he can continue where he left off against Stoke and then he’ll be even more confident for Sunderland’s remaining fixtures of 2014. What better way to forget the horrible start to the year if he can finish it with a bang.

It’ll be interesting to see if Steven Fletcher can prove me right and continue to improve this term, now that he’s finally off the mark!

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