Everton loanee will be vital for Sunderland after returning from injury setback
Lee Johnson says Nathan Broadhead's return will be vital as he looks to turn Sunderland's ailing league form around.
The Black Cats suffered another dismal away defeat on Tuesday night, beaten 3-0 by Sheffield Wednesday.
It means Sunderland have now lost three League One fixtures on the bounce, with Johnson admitting that he will have to 'take the heat' in the long break to Ipswich Town's visit.
The head coach now has two cup fixtures to try and rebuild some confidence and momentum, and more minutes for Broadhead will likely be one of his top priorities.
Johnson insisted that he has total faith in the long-term vision he is implementing on Wearside, and said he is confident that he can turn round the current form 'pretty quickly, though the January transfer window is beginning to look increasingly important.
"I do need help, and I do need a little bit more," Johnson said.
"But that was always going to be the case, [it was] quick turnaround with numbers.
"We've got good players coming back and it was brilliant to see Nathan Broadhead back on the pitch.
"That gives us a completely different dynamic. It stretches teams, opens up the pockets for the likes of Elliot Embleton, Alex Pritchard, Aiden McGeady.
"It gives that energy and fitness of a young player.
"Then all of a sudden you start playing higher up the pitch anyway and it mitigates a lot of the other stuff because you are stretching the opposition.
"I'm hurting right now but I'm not worried about the bigger picture and the long term.
"I have total faith."
Broadhead had not featured for Sunderland since the emphatic 5-0 win over Cheltenham Town on September 28th, which was also his first league start since joining on loan from Everton.
The 23-year-old did not get on the scoresheet but played a crucial part in four of the goals, and formed an impressive partnership with Ross Stewart.
Denver Hume and Niall Huggins are both sidelined until the end of the year with serious injuries, but Johnson feels his squad options generally are improving as Broadhead steps up his comeback.